32 Day Ultimate Antarctica Voyage via Ross Sea

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity!  It may never be offered again!

Antarctica Trip with Ross Sea

Antarctica Trip with Ross Sea

Join us for an exploratory  voyage to the Antarctic Peninsula, to the rarely visited volcanic Peter I Island, to the huts of the British explorers Ernest Shackleton and Robert Falcon Scott on Ross island, to McMurdo Station and the Dry Valleys and to Campbell Island, home to the Southern Royal Albatrosses.

There are 2 trips in January-March 2015.  One will go from Ushuaia, Argentina to Bluff, New Zealand, and the second trip will go in reverse.  The M/V Ortelius will be your home for this adventure.

Helicopter transfers:

Helicopters will take you to the ice shelf.

Helicopters will take you to the ice shelf.

During those voyages we will transfer our passengers ashore by zodiac. But, we will surely also operate our two helicopters if zodiacs cannot be used.

Potential candidates for helicopter transfers are Cape Evans (hut of Scott), Cape Royds (hut of Shackleton), Ross Ice Shelf at Bay of Whales and Kainan Bay, and Peter I Island.


Day 1: Ushuaia

In the afternoon, we 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.

Day 2 – 3: At Sea

Day 4: Antarctic Peninsula 

Royal Penguins

Royal Penguins

We arrive in the Antarctic Peninsula and sail in the early morning through the spectacular Lemaire Channel and land on Pléneau Island, where Elephant Seals 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 Imperial Cormorants (Blue-eyed Shags). Petermann Island was named after the German geographer August Petermann who was a member of a German Expedition in 1873-74.

Day 5: Polar Circle

M/V Ortelius

M/V Ortelius

Sailing south through the Penola Strait, we cross the Polar Circle and arrive at the Fish Islands. The small islands lying east of Flouder Island are called the Minnows, first charted by the British Graham Land Expedition (1934-37) of John Rymill. Detaille Island was discovered by the French expedition of Charcot (1903-05) and named for a shareholder in the Magellan Whaling Company. From 1956 till 1959, The British Antarctic Survey had their “Station W” located on Detaille Island. On both locations we may observe Adélie Penguins and Blue-eyed Shags.

Day 6 – 7: Bellingshausen Sea

Here is where we may see our first pack-ice.

Day 8: 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 sporadically visited by passenger vessels.

On earlier landings, we saw groups of Elephant Seals and colonies of Southern Fulmars and Cape Pigeons.

Day 9 – 14: Amundsen Sea

Orca Whales

Orca Whales

These days we sail through the Amundsen Sea along and through the outer fringes of the pack-ice, which, depending on ice-conditions, will give us glimpses of the Antarctic Continent, 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 Orcas and Minke Whales along the ice-edge, often accompanied by different species of fulmarine petrels.

Day 15: Ross Ice Shelf

Ross Ice Shelf

Ross Ice Shelf

We approach the Ross Ice Shelf, a floating mass of land-ice, with a front 30 meters high. We intend to offer a helicopter landing on the Ross Ice Shelf.

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. For us it is a chance to be flown to the ice shelf.

Day 16: Ross Ice Shelf

Along the Ross Ice Shelf, we sail to the west.

Day 17 – 21: Ross Island, Cape Royds, Cape Evans

Shackleton's Hut, Cape Royds

Shackleton’s Hut, Cape Royds

In the Ross Sea we intend to 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. We also intend to visit Cape Evans with the cabin of Robert Falcon Scott; from Hut Point, Scott and his men set out for the South Pole. We will further make attempts to visit the US-station McMurdo and Scott Base (New Zealand). If ice and weather conditions are favorable, we will use the helicopters to offer landings. From Castle Rock we will have a great view across the Ross Ice Shelf toward the South Pole. We will have a view into Taylor Valley, one of the Dry Valleys, where on our planet you are closest to the conditions on Mars. For the Dry Valleys we plan to use our helicopters. This is just one example of helicopter use during this epic voyage.

Day 22 – 23: West Coast of Ross Sea

Sailing northward along the west coast of the Ross Sea, we pass by the Drygalski Ice Tongue and the Italian Station in Terra Nova Bay and further Cape Hallet.

Day 24: 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.

Day 25: At Sea

We work our way through the sea-ice at the entrance of the Ross Sea.

Day 26: Scott Island

We sail along Scott Island.

Day 27 – 29: At Sea

Day 30: Campbell Island

Campbell Island is a sub-Antarctic New Zealand Reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, 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, Greyheaded, Blackbrowed, and Lightmantled Sooty 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.

Day 31: At Sea

Day 32: Arrive Bluff, New Zealand

We arrive in Bluff (New Zealand) where passengers depart for their home bound journey.


Start End Embarkation – Disembarkation Quadruple Porthole Triple Porthole Twin Porthole Twin Window Twin Deluxe Superior
JAN 09 FEB 10 Ushuaia – Bluff, New Zealand $24,950 $27,200 $31,800 $32,850 $34,500 $36,200
FEB 11 MAR 13 Bluff, New Zealand – Ushuaia $24,950 $27,200 $31,800 $32,850 $34,500 $36,200

 *** SPECIAL: Single travelers, booking a single porthole cabin receive a 30% discount!

Crossing the Date Line

The trip in January has a total duration of 31 nights / 32 days. However, looking at the starting and ending dates of the voyages, it “seems” that it has a duration of 32 nights. This is explained by the fact that we cross the “date line” at 180 degrees longitude. Crossing the International Date Line results in a day being added. In any case, the duration of the voyage is still 31 nights / 32 days.

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