In the afternoon, 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.
Cross the Drake Passage.
Arrive in the Antarctic Peninsula and sail in the early morning 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. Also visit Petermann Island with colonies of Adélie and gentoo penguins and blue-eyed shags. Petermann Island was named after the German geographer August Petermann, who was a member of a German Expedition in 1873-74.
Sailing south through the Penola Strait, 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. Observe Adélie penguins and blue-eyed shags among myriads of large icebergs. Perhaps set foot on the Continent for the first time in the stunning setting of Prospect Point.
Cross Bellingshausen Sea, where you may see your first pack-ice.
Peter I Island (or in Norwegian Peter I Øy) is an uninhabited volcanic island (19 kilometers 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, attempt a helicopter landing on the glaciated northern part of the island.
These days sail through the Amundsen Sea along and through the outer fringes of the pack-ice, while your ship takes 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.
Approach the Ross Ice Shelf, a floating mass of land-ice, with a front of 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 explorer Nobu Shirase had his camp in this area at Kainan Bay in 1912. Attempt a helicopter landing on the Ross Ice Shelf if conditions allow for it.
Sail along the Ross Ice Shelf to the west.
In the Ross Sea your captain intends 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. The goal is to visit Cape Evans with the cabin of Robert Falcon Scott; from Hut Point Scott and his men set out for the South Pole. Further attempts will be made to visit the US-station McMurdo and Scott Base (New Zealand). If ice and weather conditions are favorable, the helicopters will be used to offer landings.
From McMurdo Station a substantial 10 km hike to Castle Rock may be offered, with great views across the Ross Ice Shelf toward the South Pole. Land 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!
Sailing northward along the west coast of the Ross Sea, pass by the Drygalski Ice Tongue and the Italian Mario Zucchelli Station in Terra Nova Bay. Should the ice prevent the ship from entering Terra Nova Bay, you may progress further north to find the specially protected area of Cape Hallet with a large Adélie penguin rookery.
Cape Adare 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.
Work your way through the sea-ice at the entrance of the Ross Sea and start the journey north through the Southern Ocean. Depending on weather conditions, you may opt to set a course sailing by Scott 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, black-browed, and light-mantled albatrosses on the satellite islands. Three penguin species breed here - eastern rockhopper, erect-crested, and yellow-eyed penguins. In the 18th century seals were hunted to extinction, but elephant seals, fur seals, and sea lions have recovered.
During this sea day make your way to Bluff, New Zealand.
Arrive in Bluff near Invercargill (New Zealand) where passengers depart for their homebound journey.
|Quadruple Porthole||Triple Porthole||Twin Porthole||Twin Window||Twin Deluxe||Superior|
|* Itinerary operates in reverse.|