Explore Antarctica's seldom-seen and spectacular Ross Sea, with its mountains, ice-shelves, abundant wildlife and fascinating history
The heart of what is known as the Heroic Age' of Antarctic exploration, The Ross Sea features still-intact huts from explorers such as Scott and Shackleton set in dramatic landscapes of Mt Erebus and the Transantarctic Mountains. Many highlights include abundant wildlife: penguins, seabirds, seals and whales, vast glacial ice tongues and ice shelves, visits to modern scientific bases. Breaking the long journey to the Antarctica are the Subantarctic Islands: The Snares, Auckland's, Macquarie and Campbell Island, replete with their own amazing flora and fauna.
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.
All items of a personal nature, laundry, drinks, gratuities. International/domestic flights, visas and travel insurance.
Additional Charges - Landing Fees of $880 per person for visits to sub-Antarctic Islands. These will be added during the booking process. Deposits - Reservations require a deposit of 25% at the time you receive a booking confirmation from Expeditions Online. A payment link will be sent to you and this may be paid by major credit card. Bookings within 90 days of departure require full payment.
Final Payments - Balances are due 90 days prior to departure.
Cancellations - All requests for cancellation must be received in writing to Expeditions Online. Cancellations received 180 days or more prior to departure, are refunded less a $US750.00 per person administration fee. For cancellations received within 179 and 91 days of the embarkation date the full deposit will be forfeited. If cancellation occurs within 90 days prior to the departure date the total price is forfeited. If cancellation occurs within 90 days and full payment has not yet been received, the total price will still apply and any unpaid monies are due immediately. We strongly recommend that you obtain adequate trip cancellation insurance.
Booking Terms - Please read carefully the General Booking Conditions for Expeditions Online. This voyage is operated by Heritage Expeditions and you additionally travel under their terms and conditions as the operator as well as of the Shipping Company/transport carrier. Details will be forwarded to you at the time of booking.
Day 1: Invercargill
Arrive at Invercargill, New Zealand’s southern most city and rich in
Scottish history. 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 – North East Island
Staggeringly, The Snares 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 we should see
the endemic Snares Crested Penguin, the Cape Petrel and Buller’s
Albatross nesting on the imposing cliffs.
Days 4 to 5: Auckland Islands
Characterised by towering cliffs and rugged sea stacks, these islands
have borne witness to many a shipwreck in days gone by. We spend the
day ashore on Enderby Island which is perhaps the most beautiful of
all the Subantarctic Islands. Here we 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. We land in Carnley
Harbour and if conditions are suitable climb to a Shy Albatross
colony, otherwise we 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 our experts. This particular stretch of ocean is very productive
and we can expect many seabirds, including five or six kinds of
albatross and numerous species of petrel.
Days 7 to 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. We 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 we 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 we 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 we assess the conditions daily and take every
opportunity to make landings and launch the Zodiacs. You can
anticipate wildlife viewing, visits to scientific bases and historic
sites, as well as the spectacular white and blue scenery.
We hope to visit the following areas:
Cape Adare: A large flat spit of land, teeming with
the staggering sight of Antarctica’s largest Adelie Penguin rookery: 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 we will 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
our arrival; wild and extraordinary, the mountains rear up from the
sea to over 4,000m, bounded by colossal glaciers. We land at an
abandoned base site, now home to large numbers of Adelie Penguins and
Franklin Island: Desolately beautiful and rugged,
this is home to a large Adelie Penguin population and other nesting
seabirds. We attempt a landing and explore the coastline.
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.
Ross Ice Shelf: 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. We cruise along its dizzying
30m high ice cliffs, perhaps lucky enough to see icebergs ‘calving’.
Ross Island: Mount Erebus/Cape Bird/Shackleton’s
Hut/Scott’s Hut(s) and visits to a scientific field station (Scott and
McMurdo Stations are high on our 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 we can reach the bases we get a modern
perspective on Antarctic Research.
Terra Nova Bay: An Italian research station where
the scientists are always hospitable and enjoy showing us around their
lonely but beautiful home. They share with us their scientific
research and also, perhaps, the best ‘cafe espresso’ in Antarctica!
Days 23 to 25: 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, we have
time for lectures on our final destination and for some pelagic bird
Days 26 to 27: Campbell Island – Perseverance Harbour
We drop anchor in Perseverance Harbour, 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
megaherbs growing on the hills. These huge wild flowers that have
adapted to the harsh conditions have unusual colourings and
weirdly-shaped leaves. We also seek out other wildlife such as
Campbell Island Shags, Light-mantled Sooty Albatross and sea lions.
Day 28-29: At Sea
Relax and reflect on a remarkable journey as you join our experts for
a recap of highlights and enjoy a farewell dinner tonight.
Day 30: Bluff/Invercargill or Lyttelton/Christchurch
We disembark in the Port of Bluff (alternatively the Port of Lyttelton) and this adventure ends as we
disperse to begin others. After fond farewells we transfer you to a central city point or to the airport at Invercargill or Christchurch.