Travel to the Ross Sea in Antarctica

Expedition cruise, voyage: the Ross Sea in Antarctica – January 10th to February 8th, 2018

Voyage and expedition cruise to the Ross Sea in Antarctica Expedition cruise on board the vessel Spirit of Enderby

Size of the group: 48 expeditioners maximum

Duration: 29 nights/30 days

The ship in details…

Expedition cruise basics…

The Ross Sea takes its name from Sir James Clark Ross who discovered it in 1842. The British Royal Geographical Society chose the Ross Sea for the now famous British National Antarctic Expedition in 1901-04 led by Robert Falcon Scott. That one expedition spawned what is sometimes referred to as the ‘Race to the Pole’. Ernest Shackleton almost succeeded in 1907-09 and the Japanese explorer Nobu Shirase tried in 1910-12. Scott thought it was his, but was beaten by his rival, Norwegian Roald Amundsen in the summer of 1911. Shackleton’s Trans Antarctic expedition in 1914-17 marked the end of this ‘heroic’ or ‘golden age’ of exploration, but many of the relics of this era, including some huts, remain. The dramatic landscape described by these early explorers is unchanged. Mt Erebus, Mt Discovery and the Transantarctic Mountains are as inspiring today as they were 100 years ago. The penguin rookeries described by the early biologists fluctuate in numbers from year to year but they still occupy the same sites. The seals which are no longer hunted for food, lie around on ice floes seemingly unperturbed. The whales, which were hunted so ruthlessly here in the 1920s, are slowly coming back, but it is a long way back from the edge of extinction, and some species have done better than others. Snow Petrels, Wilson’s Storm-Petrels, Antarctic Prions and South Polar Skuas all breed in this seemingly inhospitable environment.


PROGRAM AND ITINERARY:

About the program and itinerary…

Day 1: Invercargill
Arrive at Invercargill, New Zealand’s southern most city. Grab your last-minute luxuries before meeting your fellow expeditioners for an informal get-together over dinner.

Day 2: Port of Bluff
Enjoy a visit to the museum to view the Subantarctic display before transferring to the Port of Bluff, where you will board the Spirit of Enderby. Settle into your cabin and join your expedition team and the captain for a welcome on board.

Day 3: The Snares
The Snares Islands are home to more nesting seabirds than all of the British Isles put together. Zodiac cruising the coast we learn how the islands got their name and in the sheltered bays you should see the endemic Snares Crested Penguin, the Cape Petrel and Buller’s Albatross nesting on the imposing cliffs.

Days 4 and 5: Auckland Islands
Characterised by towering cliffs and rugged sea stacks, these islands have borne witness to many a shipwreck in days gone by. You spend the day ashore on Enderby Island which is perhaps the most beautiful of all the Subantarctic Islands. Here you find parakeets flitting above carpets of red, white and yellow wild flowers and on the beaches beyond, the rare Hooker’s or New Zealand Sea Lion. You land in Carnley Harbour and if conditions are suitable climb to a Shy Albatross colony, otherwise you explore sites within the harbour.

Day 6: at Sea
Take the chance to learn more about the biology and history of these islands and the tempestuous Southern Ocean through informal lectures with your guides. This particular stretch of ocean is very productive and you can expect many seabirds, including five or six kinds of albatross and numerous species of petrel.

Days 7 and 8: Macquarie Island
This remote, rocky outpost which endures roaring westerly winds, supports one of the highest concentrations of wildlife in the Southern Hemisphere. Four species of penguin, King, Royal, Rockhopper and Gentoo breed here. You will never forget your first experience in a ceaselessly active ‘penguin city’, where the dapper inhabitants show no fear of their strange visitors. You will also meet with the Park Rangers, visit the Australian Antarctic Base and observe the hundreds of Southern Elephant Seals along the beaches.

Days 9 to 12: at sea
Soaring albatross and petrels circle the vessel as you steam south through the Southern Ocean. Lectures now concentrate on the Ross Sea region and beyond the bow of the ship; drifting icebergs of extraordinary shapes begin to appear. Manoeuvring in close for your first ice photographs you pass the Antarctic Circle and into the continent’s realm of 24-hour daylight.

Days 13 to 22: Antarctica’s Ross Sea Region
With unpredictable ice and weather conditions, a day-by-day itinerary is not possible but conditions will be assessed daily and every opportunity to make landings and launch the Zodiacs will be taken. You can anticipate wildlife viewing, visits to scientific bases and historic sites, as well as the spectacular white and blue scenery.
You will probably visit the following areas: Cape Adare, Cape Hallett, Franklin Island, Possession Islands, the Ross Ice Shelf, Ross Island with Mount Erebus/Cape Bird/Shackleton’s Hut/Scott’s Hut(s), visit a scientific field station, Terra Nova Bay…

Days 23 to 26: at sea
Taking time to rest and enjoy shipboard life in the bar or library after the excitement and long daylight hours of the Antarctic, you have time for lectures on your final destination and for some pelagic bird spotting.

Days 27 and 28: Campbell Island
You will walk to the nesting site of the Southern Royal Albatross and see the strange and beautiful megaherbs growing on the hills. These huge wild flowers that have adapted to the harsh conditions have unusual colourings and weirdly-shaped leaves. You also seek out other wildlife such as Campbell Island Shags, Light-mantled Sooty Albatross and sea lions.

Days 29: at sea
Relax and reflect on a remarkable journey as you join the staff for a recap of highlights and enjoy a farewell dinner tonight.

Day 30: Invercargill
You will disembark after breakfast in the port of Bluff, and be transfer to central city hotels or to the airport.

Map of the itinerary of the voyage and expedition cruise to the Ross Sea in Antarctica


PRICES (per person):

– Main deck: $22300 USD
– Superior: $24000 USD
– Superior Plus: $27000 USD
– Mini suite: $28000 USD
– Heritage Suite: $30200 USD

Additional charges: local payment $880 USD pp

Prices include: pre/post cruise transfers, one night hotel accommodation in a twin share room (inc. dinner/breakfast), all on board ship accommodation with meals and all expedition shore excursions.

Prices do not include: all items of a personal nature, laundry, drinks, gratuities. International/domestic flights, visas and travel insurance.

The ship in details…


OUR OPINION ON THIS VOYAGE:

The Ross Sea region of Antarctica is one of the most remote places on Planet Earth and one of the most fascinating places in the continent’s human history. With shipping restricted by impenetrable pack ice to just two brief months each austral summer, few people have ever visited this strange and beautiful territory, with opportunities for non-scientific personnel limited to a handful of tourist expedition ships. This voyage on a fully equipped and ice-strengthened ship, is a unique opportunity to experience nature on a scale so grand there are no words to describe it!

☞ Interest of this trip: wildlife (albatross, petrels, penguins, other birds, whales, dolphins, sea lions, seals…), flora (rata forest, megaherbs…), Robert Falcon Scott’s hut, Ernest Shackleton’s hut, Borchegrevink’s hut, landscapes, research stations, sea ice, icebergs, ice-shelf…