Cruise to Spectacular Ross Sea

Head out on a spectacular expedition to the Ross Sea. Join us for a new exploratory voyage to Campbell Island, home to the Southern Royal Albatross, to the huts of Shackleton and Scott on Ross Island, to the Bay of Whales and Kainan Bay, the starting points from where Norwegian Amundsen and the Japanese Shirase gained access to the ice-shelf in 1911 and 1912, and where Byrd wintered in Little America.

Day 1: Embarkation m/v Ortelius in Ushuaia

This afternoon, you will embark in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world located at the Beagle Channel and sail through this scenic waterway for the rest of the evening.

Stay: Ortelius

Day 2-3: At sea

Today you will spend the day bird watching. For beginners, you will take your first bird-watching footsteps. The trained staff consists often of ornithologists or keen birders and they are there to help you and point out the different species. On board-lectures will help you to gain knowledge of the bird life.

Today you will also witness the incredible Drake Passage, the shortest connection between Antarctica and the rest of the world’s main land. It is named after Sir Francis Drake, the famous English privateer from the 16th century.

 

 

Stay: Ortelius

Day 4: Sail through the Lemaire Channel and land on Pléneau Island

Today, you will arrive in the Antarctic Peninsula and in the morning and sail through the spectacular Lemaire Channel and land on Pléneau Island, where fur seals may haul-out on the beaches. Gentoo Penguins, Kelp Gulls and South Polar Skuas are confirmed breeders. Pléneau Island was first charted by the French Antarctic Expedition of 1903-05 of Jean-Baptiste Charcot and was named after his expedition’s photographer Paul Pléneau. We will also visit Petermann Island with colonies of Adélie and Gentoo Penguins and Blue-eyed Shags. Petermann Island.

Stay: Ortelius

Day 6 - 7: Bellingshausen Sea

Today you may see your first pack-ice at Bellingshausen Sea.

Stay: Ortelius

Day 8: Helicopter landing on Peter I Island

Peter I Island or in Norwegian Peter I Øy is an uninhabited volcanic island (19 kilometres long) in the Bellingshausen Sea. It was discovered by Fabian von Bellingshausen in 1821 and was named after the Russian Tsar Peter I. It is claimed by Norway and considered a territory on its own. It is very rarely visited by passenger vessels due to the exposed nature of the place.

If the weather conditions allow, we are likely to attempt a helicopter landing on the glaciated northern part of the island.

Stay: Ortelius

Day 9 - 14: Sail through the Amundsen Sea

For the next six days we sail through the Amundsen Sea along and through the outer fringes of the pack-ice, while we take advantage of the west-going Antarctic coastal current. The sailing along and through the ice is very lively, with sightings of single straggling Emperor Penguins, groups of seals on ice-floes, and also Orca’s and Minke Whales along the ice-edge, often accompanied by different species of fulmarine petrels.

Stay: Ortelius

Day 15: Ross Ice Shelf landing

Today you will approach the Ross Ice Shelf, a floating mass of land-ice, with a front 30 meters high. In the Bay of Whales at the eastern side of the shelf, close to Roosevelt Island (named by the American aviator Richard E. Byrd in 1934 for President Franklin D. Roosevelt), Roald Amundsen gained access to the Shelf and ventured to the South Pole, where he finally arrived on 14 December 1911. Also the Japanese explore Nobu Shirase had his camp in this area at Kainan Bay in 1912.

We intend to attempt a helicopter landing on the Ross Ice Shelf if conditions allow for it.

Stay: Ortelius

Day 16: Sailing along the Ross Ice Shelf

Today you will sail along the Ross Ice Shelf and to the west.

Stay: Ortelius

Day 17 - 21: Cape Evans with the cabin of Robert Falcon Scott

In the Ross Sea, you will visit Ross Island, guarded by Mount Erebus, Mount Terror and Mount Byrd with all the famous spots which played such an important role in the dramatic British expeditions of the last century such as Cape Royds with the cabin of Ernest Shackleton. You will also visit Cape Evans with the cabin of Robert Falcon Scott.

From Hut Point, Scott and his men set out for the South Pole. If ice blocks access and weather conditions are otherwise favourable, you have the option to use the helicopters to offer landings in one or more places in this area. We will further make attempts to visit the US-station McMurdo and Scott Base – the New Zealand equivalent. From McMurdo Station you may have the option for a substantial 10 km hike to Castle Rock where you will have a great view across the Ross Ice Shelf toward the South Pole.

You will land in by Helicopter in Taylor Valley, one of the Dry Valleys. The conditions here are the closest you get to the conditions on Mars anywhere on Planet Earth.

Stay: Ortelius

Day 22 - 23: Pass by the Drygalski Ice Tongue and the Italian Mario Zucchelli Station, Terra Nova Bay

Today you will sail northward along the west coast of the Ross Sea, we pass by the Drygalski Ice Tongue and the Italian Mario Zucchelli Station in Terra Nova Bay. Should the ice prevent us from entering Terra Nova Bay we may progress further north where we find the specially protected area of Cape Hallet with a large Adélie Penguin rookery.

Stay: Ortelius

Day 24: Landing at Cape Adare to visit Borchgrevink's Hut

Today we will attempt to make a landing at Cape Adare. This is the place where people for the very first time wintered on the Antarctic Continent. The hut where the Norwegian Borchgrevink stayed in 1899 is surrounded by the largest colony of Adélie Penguins in the World.

Stay: Ortelius

Day 25 - 29: At sea en-route to Campbell Island

Today you will travel through the sea-ice at the entrance of the Ross Sea and start your journey north through the Southern Ocean. Depending on weather conditions we may opt to set a course sailing by Scott Island.

Stay: Ortelius

Day 30: Campbell Island

Today you will visit the sub-Antarctic New Zealand Reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage Site of Campbell Island, with a luxuriant and blooming vegetation. The fauna on Campbell Island is fantastic with a large and easily accessible colony of Southern Royal Albatrosses on the main island and breeding Wandering, Campbell, Grey-headed, Black-browed, and Light-mantled Albatrosses on the satellite islands. Also three penguin species, Eastern Rockhopper, Erect-Crested and Yellow-Eyed Penguins breed here. In the 18th century seals were hunted to extinction, but Elephant Seals, Fur Seals and Sea Lions have recovered.

Stay: Ortelius

Day 31: At sea en-route to Bluff

Today you will spend the day at sea en-route to Bluff, New Zealand.

Stay: Ortelius

Day 32: Disembark m/v Ortelius in Bluff, New Zealand

Today you will arrive in Bluff where you depart for your home-bound journey.

Itinerary

Duration Description Overnight
Day 1: Embarkation m/v Ortelius in Ushuaia Ortelius
Day 2-3: At sea Ortelius
Day 4: Sail through the Lemaire Channel and land on Pléneau Island Ortelius
Day 6 - 7: Bellingshausen Sea Ortelius
Day 8: Helicopter landing on Peter I Island Ortelius
Day 9 - 14: Sail through the Amundsen Sea Ortelius
Day 15: Ross Ice Shelf landing Ortelius
Day 16: Sailing along the Ross Ice Shelf Ortelius
Day 17 - 21: Cape Evans with the cabin of Robert Falcon Scott Ortelius
Day 22 - 23: Pass by the Drygalski Ice Tongue and the Italian Mario Zucchelli Station, Terra Nova Bay Ortelius
Day 24: Landing at Cape Adare to visit Borchgrevink's Hut Ortelius
Day 25 - 29: At sea en-route to Campbell Island Ortelius
Day 30: Campbell Island Ortelius
Day 31: At sea en-route to Bluff Ortelius
Day 32: Disembark m/v Ortelius in Bluff, New Zealand

Inclusions

Included

  • Voyage aboard the indicated vessel as indicated in the itinerary
  • All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea.
  • All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac.
  • Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff.
  • Free use of rubber boots and snowshoes.
  • Luggage transfer from pick-up point to the vessel on the day of embarkation, in Ushuaia.
  • Ship-to-shore helicopter transfers (with no specific amount of helicopter time guaranteed)
  • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the programme.
  • Comprehensive pre-departure material.
  • 24 hour emergency contact

Not Included

  • Any airfare, whether on scheduled or charter flights
  • Pre- and post- land arrangements.
  • Passport and visa expenses.
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Travel Insurance (Please note that travel insurance is mandatory for all Lightfoot Travel Holidays)
  • Government arrival and departure taxes.
  • Meals ashore.
  • Baggage, cancellation and personal insurance (which is mandatory).
  • Excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar, beverage charges and telecommunication charges.
  • The customary gratuity at the end of the voyages for stewards and other service personnel aboard (guidelines will be provided).

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