Arrive at Invercargill, New Zealand’s southernmost city, a place rich in Scottish history. Grab some last-minute luxuries before meeting your fellow expeditioners for an informal get-together over dinner.
Enjoy a visit to the local museum to view an educational Subantarctic display before transferring to the Port of Bluff to board the Spirit of Enderby. Settle into your cabin and join your Expedition Staff and the Captain for a welcome reception on board.
Staggeringly, The Snares Islands are home to more nesting seabirds than all of the British Isles put together. Zodiac cruising the coast, learn how the islands got their name. In the sheltered bays, keep your eyes out for the endemic Snares crested penguin, the Cape petrel, and the Buller’s albatross nesting on the imposing cliffs.
Characterized by towering cliffs and rugged sea stacks, these islands have borne witness to many a shipwreck in days gone by. Spend the day ashore on Enderby Island, which is perhaps the most beautiful of all the subantarctic islands; here find parakeets flitting above carpets of red, white, and yellow wildflowers, and on the beaches beyond, the rare Hooker’s or New Zealand sea lion. Land in Carnley Harbor and if conditions are suitable, climb to a shy albatross colony. Otherwise explore sites within the harbor.
Take the chance to learn more about the biology and history of these islands and the tempestuous Southern Ocean through informal lectures with your experts. Crossing the confluence of warmer and cooler waters at the Subantarctic Convergence, a very productive stretch, you can expect many seabirds, including five or six kinds of albatross and numerous species of petrel.
This remote, rocky outpost in the middle of roaring westerly winds supports one of the highest concentrations of wildlife in the Southern Hemisphere. Four species of penguin breed here: king, royal, rockhopper, and gentoo. You may never forget your first experience in a ceaselessly active ‘penguin city’, where the dapper inhabitants show no fear of their strange visitors. Also meet with the Park Rangers, visit the Australian Antarctic Base, and observe the hundreds of southern elephant seals along the beaches.
Soaring albatrosses and petrels circle the vessel as your ship steams south through the Southern Ocean. Lectures now concentrate on the Ross Sea region, meanwhile beyond the bows of the ship drifting icebergs begin to appear in extraordinary shapes. The ship maneuvers in close for your first ice photographs as you pass the Antarctic Circle and into the continent’s realm of 24-hour daylight.
With unpredictable ice and weather conditions, a day-by-day itinerary is not possible but your expedition team assesses conditions daily and takes every opportunity to launch the zodiacs and make landings. You can anticipate wildlife viewing, visits to scientific bases and historic sites, as well as the spectacular white and blue scenery.
Your ship crew hopes to make landings in the following areas:
Cape Adare: A large flat spit of land, teeming with the staggering sight of Antarctica’s largest Adelie penguin rookery. You may witness a tumult of chattering, feeding chicks, territorial disputes, petty pilfering, and courtship displays. Curious penguins often come very close, offering superb photographic opportunities. Among the shifting mass of penguins you can find Carsten Borchgrevink’s Hut, the oldest in Antarctica, an overwintering shelter for the first expedition to the Antarctic continent in 1899.
Cape Hallett: The enormous Admiralty Range heralds your arrival. Wild and extraordinary, the mountains rear up from the sea to over 4,000 meters, bounded by colossal glaciers. Land at an abandoned base site, now home to large numbers of Adelie penguins and Weddell seals.
Terra Nova Bay: An Italian research station where the scientists are always hospitable and enjoy showing you around their lonely but beautiful home. They share with you their scientific research and also, perhaps, the best ‘cafe espresso’ in Antarctica!
Franklin Island: Desolately beautiful and rugged, this is home to a large Adelie penguin population and other nesting seabirds. A landing is attempted to explore the coastline.
Ross Ice Shelf: This is the world’s largest body of floating ice and a natural barrier, at times creating hazardous weather, with sheets of snow blown at gale force by winds off the polar ice cap. Just 800 miles from the South Pole, this daunting spectacle prevented many early explorers from venturing further south. Cruise along its dizzying 30 meter ice cliffs, perhaps lucky enough to see icebergs ‘calving’.
Ross Island:Mt. Erebus/Cape Bird/Shackleton & Scott’s Hut and visits to a scientific field station (Scott and McMurdo Stations are high on the wish list but ice, weather and station operational requirements often make them inaccessible). Ross Island was and is the ‘hub of activity’ in the Ross Sea, dominated by Mt Erebus, a monstrous active volcano named after the ancient Greek God of Darkness. The carefully preserved huts of the ‘Heroic Era’ help make the history come alive. If possible reach the bases to get a modern perspective on Antarctic Research.
Possession Islands: Rarely-visited, small and rugged, these rocks support tens of thousands of penguins. Observe the birds’ busy and humorous activity, with the Admiralty Mountains forming a superb backdrop across the water.
Take time to rest and enjoy shipboard life in the bar or library after the excitement and long daylight hours of the Antarctic. As the ship sails, you have plenty of time for lectures on your final destination and for some pelagic bird spotting.
Drop anchor in Perseverance Harbor, an occasional refuge for southern right whales who come here to calve. Walk to the nesting site of the southern royal albatross and see the strange and beautiful ‘mega herbs’ growing on the hills - huge wildflowers that have adapted to the harsh conditions, with unusual colorings and oddly-shaped leaves. Seek out other wildlife such as Campbell Island shags, light-mantled sooty albatross, and sea lions.
Relax and reflect on a remarkable journey, join your experts for a recap of highlights, and enjoy a farewell dinner tonight.
Disembark in the Port of Bluff. This adventure ends as you disperse to begin others. After fond farewells, transfer to central city hotels or to the airport.
Please Note: February departures disembark in Port Lyttleton in Christchurch, New Zealand.
|Main Deck Triple||Main deck||Superior||Superior Plus||Mini Suite||Heritage Suite|
|Landing Fees: $880 per person|