Spectacular Ross Sea

From New Zealand to Argentina OR From Argentina to New Zealand
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  • Antarctica from New Zealand / Australia
  • Antarctic Peninsula
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Tour Description

Join us on this spectacular voyage from New Zealand to Ushuaia, at the bottom of Argentina (or vice versa!) This epic voyage takes in so much, wildlife and vast landscapes.  Along the way:

Campbell Island - a Sub-Antarctic island belong to New Zealand, fantastic for the southern royal albatross, also wandering, Campbell, grey-headed, black-browed, and light-mantled albatrosses, along with plenty of penguins: the eastern rockhopper, erect-crested, and yellow-eyed penguins

Macquarie Island - belonging to Australia this island is full of fauna; there are king, gentoo, and southern rockhopper penguins, nearly one million endemic royal penguins, Elephant seals and fur seals.

Ross Sea - this region of Antarctica is one of the most untouched environments in the world, perhaps we can visit Ross Island, from this location you may be able to see Mount Erebus.

Peter I Island - claimed by Norway, an extremely remote and exposed volcanic island, if weather allows make a helicopter landing!

Polar Circle - cross the Antarctica circle

Antarctica Peninsula - great wildlife and stunning scenery.

This will sure be a month your will remember forever! 

 

Viva's Best Bits...

Take a spectacular helicopter flight above the Ross Ice Shelf

Explore New Zealand’s Campbell Island - home to the southern royal albatross and 3 species of penguins

"This one of my dreams - heli flight to land in a dry valley in Antarctica!" Tara, Team Viva

Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Bluff

Your voyage begins in Bluff, commonly held to be New Zealand’s most southerly town. Sailing beyond the boundaries of the civilized world, you venture into the untamed regions of the far south.

Day 2
At Sea

Seabirds trail your vessel across limitless horizons toward Campbell Island.

Day 3
Campbell Island

The plan today is to visit the sub-Antarctic New Zealand Reserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Campbell Island, enjoying its luxuriantly blooming vegetation. The fauna on Campbell Island is also a highlight, with a large and easily accessible colony of southern royal albatrosses on the main island. Breeding on the satellite islands are wandering, Campbell, grey-headed, black-browed, and light-mantled albatrosses. There are also three breeding penguin species present: eastern rockhopper, erect-crested, and yellow-eyed penguins. In the 18th century, seals in the area were hunted to extinction, but the elephant seals, fur seals, and sea lions have since recovered.

Day 4
At Sea

You now sail northwest, again followed by numerous species of seabird.

Day 5
Macquarie Island

Macca, also known as Macquarie Island, is a Tasmanian State Reserve that in 1997 became a World Heritage Site. The Australian Antarctic Division has its permanent base on this island, which Australian sealer Frederick Hasselborough discovered while searching for new sealing grounds. The fauna on Macquarie is fantastic, and there are colonies of king, gentoo, and southern rockhopper penguins – as well as almost one million breeding pairs of the endemic royal penguin. Elephant seals and various fur seal species, such as the New Zealand fur seal, are also present.

However, due to the limited availability of landing slots for Macquarie Island, we have not been able to obtain a landing permit there for 2020. Hence, this trip will not include this stop on the itinerary, and we will instead make the best possible use of this day elsewhere during the trip.

Day 6-8
At Sea

You once again enter the vast expanse of the Southern Ocean. Sea birds are also prolific on this leg, during which we hope to enjoy good weather conditions.

Day 9
Balleny Islands

Your intended route is past Sturge Island in the afternoon, getting an impression of these windswept and remote islands before crossing the Antarctic Circle.

Day 10
At Sea

By now you’ve become a veteran of the high seas, if you weren’t when you started the voyage. You spend today sailing toward the Antarctic Continent.

Day 11
Cape Adare

You next attempt a landing at Cape Adare, where for the first time humans wintered on the Antarctic Continent: The Norwegian Borchgrevink stayed in here 1899, taking shelter in a hut that to this day is surrounded by the largest colony of Adélie penguins in the world.

Day 12
Cape Hallett

Sailing south along the west coast of the Ross Sea, you may attempt a landing at the protected area of Cape Hallett and its large Adélie penguin rookery.

Day 13
Inexpressible Island

If sea ice permits, you land at Inexpressible Island, which has a fascinating history in connection to the less-known Northern Party of Captain Scott’s expedition. It is also home to a sizable Adélie penguin rookery. You may also head farther south toward the impressive Drygalski Ice Tongue if ice conditions prevent entry into Terra Nova Bay.

Day 14-16
At Sea Ross Island

Keeping to the Ross Sea, your aim is now to visit Ross Island. In this location you can see Mount Erebus, Mount Terror, and Mount Byrd, as well as many other famous spots that played an important role in the British expeditions of the last century: Cape Royds, where Ernest Shackleton’s cabin still stands; Cape Evans, where the cabin of Robert Falcon Scott can still be seen; and Hut Point, from which Scott and his men set out for the South Pole.

If ice is blocking the way but weather conditions are favorable, you may use the helicopters to land in one or more spots in this area. The American scientific base of McMurdo Station and New Zealand’s Scott Base are other possible locations you might visit. From McMurdo Station you could also make a 10-km hike (6 miles) to Castle Rock, where there are great views across the Ross Ice Shelf toward the South Pole. Additionally, you may make a helicopter landing in Taylor Valley, one of the Dry Valleys, where conditions are closer to Mars than anywhere else on Earth.

Day 17-18
At Sea Ross Ice Shelf

The next goal is to enter the Ross Sea from the east, venturing south toward the Bay of Whales and close to Roosevelt Island (named in 1934 by the American aviator Richard E. Byrd for President Franklin D. Roosevelt). The Bay of Whales is part of the Ross Ice Shelf, the largest ice shelf in the world, and is constantly changing with the receding ice masses. Large icebergs are present here, along with great wildlife opportunities. Roald Amundsen gained access to the shelf en route to the South Pole, which he reached on December 14, 1911. Also, the Japanese explore Nobu Shirase had his camp in this area in 1912, at Kainan Bay. You may make a helicopter landing on the ice shelf if conditions allow. During this part of the voyage, we will also cross the International Date Line.

Day 19-25
Amundsen Sea

You then sail through the Amundsen Sea, moving along and through the outer fringes of the pack ice. Ice conditions are never the same from year to year, though we aim to take advantage of the opportunities that arise if sea ice is present. Emperor penguins, groups of seals lounging on the ice floes, orca and minke whales along the ice edge, and different species of fulmarine petrels are possible sights in this area.

Day 26
Peter I Island

Known as Peter I Øy in Norwegian, this is an uninhabited volcanic island in the Bellingshausen Sea. It was discovered by Fabian von Bellingshausen in 1821 and named after Peter the Great of Russia. The island is claimed by Norway and considered its own territory, though it is rarely visited by passenger vessels due to its exposed nature. If weather and ice conditions allow, you may enjoy a helicopter landing on the glaciated northern part of the island. This is a unique chance to land on one of the most remote islands in the world.

Day 27-28
Bellingshausen Sea

You now sail across Bellingshausen Sea, bound for the Antarctic Peninsula.

Day 29
Antarctic Peninsula

You arrive at the Antarctic Peninsula near the Antarctic Circle in the afternoon. If sea ice allows it, you can then continue through Pendleton Strait and attempt a landing at the rarely visited southern tip of Renaud Island. Here you have the opportunity to see the first Adélie penguins of the trip as well as enjoy spectacular views of the icebergs in this surreal, snow-swept environment.

Day 30-32
Drake Passage

Over the following days on the Drake Passage, you enjoy some of the same experiences encountered by the great polar explorers who first charted these regions: cool salt breezes, rolling seas, maybe even a fin whale spouting up sea spray. After passing the Antarctic Convergence – Antarctica’s natural boundary, formed when north-flowing cold waters collide with warmer sub-Antarctic seas – you are in the circum-Antarctic upwelling zone. Wandering albatrosses, grey-headed albatrosses, black-browed albatrosses, light-mantled sooty albatrosses, cape pigeons, southern fulmars, Wilson’s storm petrels, blue petrels, and Antarctic petrels are a few of the birds you might see.

Day 33
Ushuaia

Every adventure, no matter how grand, must eventually come to an end. It’s now time to disembark in Ushuaia, reputed to be the southernmost town in the world, and return home with memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies.

Day 1
Ushuaia

Embark in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world located at the Beagle Channel.

Day 2-3
Drake Passage

Over the next two days on the Drake Passage, you enjoy some of the same experiences encountered by the great polar explorers who first charted these regions: cool salt breezes, rolling seas, maybe even a fin whale spouting up sea spray. After passing the Antarctic Convergence – Antarctica’s natural boundary, formed when north-flowing cold waters collide with warmer sub-Antarctic seas – you are in the circum-Antarctic upwelling zone. Not only does the marine life change, the avian life changes too. Wandering albatrosses, grey-headed albatrosses, black-browed albatrosses, light-mantled sooty albatrosses, cape pigeons, southern fulmars, Wilson’s storm petrels, blue petrels, and Antarctic petrels are a few of the birds you might see.

Day 4
Antarctic Peninsula

You arrive at the Antarctic Peninsula near the Antarctic Circle in the afternoon. If sea ice allows it, you can then continue through Pendleton Strait and attempt a landing at the rarely visited southern tip of Renaud Island. Here you have the opportunity to see the first Adélie penguins of the trip as well as enjoy spectacular views of the icebergs in this surreal, snow-swept environment

Day 5-6
Bellingshausen Sea

En-route to the Peter I Island

Day 7
Peter I Island: Helicopter landing attempt

Known as Peter I Øy in Norwegian, this is an uninhabited volcanic island in the Bellingshausen Sea. It was discovered by Fabian von Bellingshausen in 1821 and named after Peter the Great of Russia. The island is claimed by Norway and considered its own territory, though it is rarely visited by passenger vessels due to its exposed nature. If weather and ice conditions allow, you may enjoy a helicopter landing on the glaciated northern part of the island. This is a unique chance to land on one of the most remote islands in the world.

Day 8-14
Amundsen Sea

You then sail through the Amundsen Sea, moving along and through the outer fringes of the pack ice. Ice conditions are never the same from year to year, though we aim to take advantage of the opportunities that arise if sea ice is present. Emperor penguins, groups of seals lounging on the ice floes, orca and minke whales along the ice edge, and different species of fulmarine petrels are possible sights in this area.

Day 15-16
Ross Ice Shelf

The next goal is to enter the Ross Sea from the east, venturing south toward the Bay of Whales and close to Roosevelt Island (named in 1934 by the American aviator Richard E. Byrd for President Franklin D. Roosevelt). The Bay of Whales is part of the Ross Ice Shelf, the largest ice shelf in the world, and is constantly changing with the receding ice masses. Large icebergs are present here, along with great wildlife opportunities. Roald Amundsen gained access to the shelf en route to the South Pole, which he reached on December 14, 1911. Also, the Japanese explore Nobu Shirase had his camp in this area in 1912, at Kainan Bay. You may make a helicopter landing on the ice shelf if conditions allow. During this part of the voyage, we will also cross the International Date Line.

Day 18-20
Ross Sea highlights

Keeping to the Ross Sea, your aim is now to visit Ross Island. In this location you can see Mount Erebus, Mount Terror, and Mount Byrd, as well as many other famous spots that played an important role in the British expeditions of the last century: Cape Royds, where Ernest Shackleton’s cabin still stands; Cape Evans, where the cabin of Robert Falcon Scott can still be seen; and Hut Point, from which Scott and his men set out for the South Pole.

If ice is blocking the way but weather conditions are favorable, you may use the helicopters to land in one or more spots in this area. The American scientific base of McMurdo Station and New Zealand’s Scott Base are other possible locations you might visit. From McMurdo Station you could also make a 10-km hike (6 miles) to Castle Rock, where there are great views across the Ross Ice Shelf toward the South Pole. Additionally, you may make a helicopter landing in Taylor Valley, one of the Dry Valleys, where conditions are closer to Mars than anywhere else on Earth.

Day 21-22
The Ross Sea

Sailing north along the west coast of the Ross Sea, you pass the Drygalski Ice Tongue and Terra Nova Bay. If ice conditions allow, you then land at Inexpressible Island, which has a fascinating history in connection to the less-known Northern Party of Captain Scott’s expedition. It is also home to a large Adélie penguin rookery. Should sea ice prevent entry into Terra Nova Bay, you may head farther north to the protected area of Cape Hallett and its own Adélie rookery.

Day 23
Cape Adare

You next attempt a landing at Cape Adare, where for the first time humans wintered on the Antarctic Continent: The Norwegian Borchgrevink stayed in here 1899, taking shelter in a hut that to this day is surrounded by the largest colony of Adélie penguins in the world.

Day 24
Ross Sea to the Southern Ocean

Sailing through the sea ice at the entrance of the Ross Sea, you start your journey north through the Southern Ocean. The goal is to set a course for the Balleny Islands, depending on weather conditions.

Day 25
Balleny Islands

Your intended route is past Sturge Island in the afternoon, getting an impression of these windswept and remote islands before crossing the Antarctic Circle.

Day 26-28
At Sea in the Southern Ocean

You once again enter the vast expanse of the Southern Ocean. Seabirds are prolific on this leg, during which we hope to enjoy good weather conditions.

Day 29
Macquarie Island

Macca, also known as Macquarie Island, is a Tasmanian State Reserve that in 1997 became a World Heritage Site. The Australian Antarctic Division has its permanent base on this island, which Australian sealer Frederick Hasselborough discovered while searching for new sealing grounds. The fauna on Macquarie is fantastic, and there are colonies of king, gentoo, and southern rockhopper penguins – as well as almost one million breeding pairs of the endemic royal penguin. Elephant seals and various fur seal species, such as the New Zealand fur seal, are also present.

Day 30
Sail to Campbell Island

Heading northwest to Campbell Island, you’re once again followed by numerous seabirds.

Day 31
Campbell Island

The plan today is to visit the sub-Antarctic New Zealand Reserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Campbell Island, enjoying its luxuriantly blooming vegetation. The fauna on Campbell Island is also a highlight, with a large and easily accessible colony of southern royal albatrosses on the main island. Breeding on the satellite islands are wandering, Campbell, grey-headed, black-browed, and light-mantled albatrosses. There are also three breeding penguin species present: eastern rockhopper, erect-crested, and yellow-eyed penguins. In the 18th century, seals in the area were hunted to extinction, but the elephant seals, fur seals, and sea lions have since recovered.

Day 32-33
Southern Ocean Bluff, New Zealand

Take in the vast horizons of your final sea day before you reach New Zealand.

Every adventure, no matter how sublime, must eventually come to an end. You disembark in Bluff, the southernmost town in New Zealand, and return home with memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies.

What’s Included

Accommodation
  • Included Copy 20 Cabin onboard the Ortelius
Food
  • Included Copy 20 All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea.
Fees & Services
  • Included Copy 20 All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac.
  • Included Copy 20 Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff.
  • Included Copy 20 Free use of rubber boots and snowshoes.
  • Included Copy 20 Ship-to-shore helicopter transfers (with no specific amount of helicopter time guaranteed)
  • Included Copy 20 All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the programme.
  • Included Copy 20 Comprehensive pre-departure material.
  • Included Copy 7 Any airfare, whether on scheduled or charter flights, visa expenses
  • Included Copy 7 Baggage, cancellation and personal insurance (which is mandatory).
  • Included Copy 7 Gratuities and all items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar, beverage charges
Transportation
M/V Ortelius | Arctic & Antarctic Cruise Ship

108 Passengers

Activities

  • Included Onland excursions; Antarctica, and sub Antarctic islands
  • Included Zodiac cruises
  • Included Helicopter flight & landings around the Ross Sea and Ice Shelf
  • Included Onboard lectures and experts
  • Included Cross the Arctic circle & crossing the international date line
  • Included Possible visits/sightings: Peter I Island, Campbell Island, Macquarie Island
  • Included Possible landing Cape Adare for largest Adelie penguin colony
  • Included Ross Sea highlights, perhaps McMurdo Station, Scott Base
  • Included Try to make a helicopter landing in a dry valley
Click here for dates & prices
Duration

32 days

Price from

$27,400 USD

Per person, sharing

Based On Lowest Cabin

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