Ross Sea & Antarctic Cruising: In the Wake of Ross, Amundsen & Scott
With this simple telegram — “Beg to inform you Fram proceeding Antarctic-Amundsen” — the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen set the scene for what some historians have referred to as "The Race for the Pole". It was a race that Amundsen was to win easily ... largely due to his previous experience in the High Arctic and especially his reliance on dogs. Scott, his rival, is better known even though he perished on the way home. Every year a small number of Antarctic enthusiasts make the pilgrimage to Ross Island to visit Scott's huts and memorials. There are no relics or memorials in the Bay of Whales as Amundsen's hut which he called Framheim has long disappeared. On this special expedition we visit the Bay of Whales along with iconic historic and wildlife sites on Ross Island and the western coastline of the Ross Sea.
It is also appropriate that we attempt to visit the remote Balleny Islands. These islands were discovered in 1839 by British Sealer John Balleny. The second sighting was by Sir James Clark Ross in 1841 and Robert Falcon Scott also called briefly at these islands in 1904. Subsequent visits to these islands have been rare. Apart from the obvious historic and geographical interest, this region has one of the highest concentrations of the Greater Snow Petrel Pagodroma nivea in Antarctica.
|Day 2||Port of Bluff|
|Day 3||The Snares – North East Island|
|Day 4||Auckland Islands|
|Day 5||At Sea|
|Days 6 & 7||Macquarie Island|
|Days 8 to 11||At Sea|
|Days 12 to 27||Antarctica: the Ross Sea Region, including Bay of Whales and Balleny Islands|
|Days 28 to 30||At Sea|
|Days 31 & 32||Campbell Island – Perseverance Harbor|
|Days 33 & 34||At Sea|
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.
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.
Staggeringly, 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 we should see the endemic Snares Crested Penguin, the Cape Petrel and Buller’s Albatross nesting on the imposing cliffs.
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.
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.
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.
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. Maneuvering in close for your first ice photographs we 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 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:
Balleny Islands: Remote and often beset by ice, we will attempt not only to visit but to make a landing here. We are also keen to see and photograph the Greater Snow Petrel which is known to breed on these islands.
Bay of Whales: The site of Amundsen’s Framheim and Richard Byrd’s “Little America”.
Cape Adare: One of the largest Adelie penguin rookeries in the world and also site of Carsten Borchgrevink’s 1899 Hut.
Cape Hallett: The mighty Admiralty Range dominates this site. A former NZ/American base.
Franklin Island: Desolately beautiful and rugged, home to a large Adelie Penguin population.
Ross Ice Shelf: Formerly called the “Ice Barrier” the world’s largest body of floating ice.
Ross Island: Mount Erebus and visits to Cape Bird, Shackleton’s Hut, Scott’s Hut(s) and Scott and McMurdo Stations are high on our wish list.
Possession Islands: These islands support tens of thousands of penguins.
Terra Nova Bay: Both the Italian and Koreans have research stations here.
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 spotting.
We 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 megaherbs growing on the hills. These huge wild flowers that have adapted to the harsh conditions have unusual colorings and weirdly-shaped leaves. We also seek out other wildlife such as Campbell Island Shags, Light-mantled Sooty Albatross and sea lions.
Relax and reflect on a remarkable journey as you join our experts for a recap of highlights and enjoy a farewell dinner tonight.
We disembark in the Port of Lyttelton and this adventure ends as we disperse to begin others. After fond farewells we transfer you to central city hotels or to the airport.
* Itinerary may be subject to change
|Per Person USD|
Main Deck Triple
Main Deck Twin
Gov't Landing Fees
Prices do not include Airfare or Government Landing Fees. Single Supplement rates are available at 1.8x the shared rate except for Suites which are 2x the shared rate. Please note that $75,000 Emergency Evacuation Insurance is required on all trips.
Kayaking on: Forgotten Islands of the South Pacific, Dec 14th - $550/person, Galapagos of the Southern Ocean, Dec 21 - $975/person.
All trips subject to possible fuel surcharge.