A true Discovery voyage including the southern Antarctic Peninsula, the rarely visited volcanic Peter I Island. Visit the outer fringes of the pack-ice in the Amundsen sea, Roald Amundsen’s starting point where he finally reached the South Pole in 1911, sailing voyage in the Ross sea, the huts of British explorers Ernest Shackleton and Robert Falcon Scott, Mc Murdo Station, the Dry Valleys and Macquarie Island. (No Single Supplement available for these tours.)
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.
DAYS 2 & 3
We arrive in the Antarctic Peninsula and in the morning sail 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. We will 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, we 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. We may observe Adélie Penguins and Blue-eyed Shags among myriads of large icebergs. We may set foot on the Continent for the first time in the stunning setting of Prospect Point.
DAYS 6 & 7
Bellingshausen Sea, where we may see our first pack-ice.
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 very rarely visited by passenger vessels due to the exposed nature of the place. If the weather conditions allow, we are likely to attempt a helicopter landing on the glaciated northern part of the island.
DAYS 9 - 14
These days we sail through the Amundsen Sea along and through the outer fringes of the pack-ice, 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 Orca's and Minke Whales along the ice-edge, often accompanied by different species of fulmarine petrels.
We approach the Ross Ice Shelf, a floating mass of land-ice, with a front 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 explore Nobu Shirase had his camp in this area at Kainan Bay in 1912. We intend to attempt a helicopter landing on the Ross Ice Shelf if conditions allow for it.
Along the Ross Ice Shelf we sail to the west.
DAYS 17 - 21
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. If ice blocks access and weather conditions are otherwise favourable, we have the option to use the helicopters to offer landings in one or more places in this area. We will further make attempts to visit the US-station McMurdo and Scott Base - the New Zealand equivalent. From McMurdo Station we may offer a substantial 10 km hike to Castle Rock were we will have a great view across the Ross Ice Shelf toward the South Pole. We will land in 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.
DAYS 22 - 23
Sailing northward along the west coast of the Ross Sea, we pass by the Drygalski Ice Tongue and the Italian Mario Zucchelli Station in Terra Nova Bay. Should the ice prevent us from entering Terra Nova Bay we may progress further north were we find the specially protected area of Cape Hallet with a large Adélie Penguin rookery.
We will attempt to make a landing at 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.
DAYS 25 - 29
Working our way through the sea-ice at the entrance of the Ross Sea and start our journey north through the Southern Ocean. Depending on weather conditions we may opt to set a course sailing by Scott Island.
We plan to visit the sub-Antarctic New Zealand Reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage Site of Campbell Island, 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, Grey-headed, Black-browed, and Light-mantled 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.
We arrive in Bluff where passengers depart for their homebound journey.
PLEASE NOTE: Due to the nature of expedition cruising, itineraries are subject to change due to weather, ice conditions, natural and cultural events, wildlife viewing opportunities and other logistical considerations. In general, a ship's crew will endeavor to complete the itinerary provided, but the ultimate decision lies with the ship's captain and expedition leaders.