• Helicopter landing Ross Ice Shelf
    Helicopter landing Ross Ice Shelf
  • Historic Huts of the Ross Sea
    Historic Huts of the Ross Sea
  • Emperor penguin group
    Emperor penguin group
  • Scott's hut Cape Evans
    Scott's hut Cape Evans
  • Royal albatross, Campbell Island
    Royal albatross, Campbell Island
  • Cape Hallett, Ross Sea
    Cape Hallett, Ross Sea
  • Elephant seal, sub-Antarctic Campbell Island
    Elephant seal, sub-Antarctic Campbell Island
  • Adelie penguin colony, Ross Sea
    Adelie penguin colony, Ross Sea
  • Orcas off the bow, Ross Sea
    Orcas off the bow, Ross Sea

Ross Sea and Peninsula: MV Ortelius

An epic expedition across Antarctica onboard the MV Ortelius. Reach past the southern parts of the Antarctic Peninsula, rarely seen Peter I Island, the Bellingshausen and Amundsen Seas and into the Ross Sea. Visit Shackleton’s and Scott’s huts, McMurdo Station, the Dry Valleys and - enroute to New-Zealand – Campbell Island with its nesting Royal albatross. The strongest ice-class expedition vessel, MV Ortelius is equipped with onboard helicopters. Be prepared for true emotion and unforgettable memories!

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  • Helicopter outings
  • Peter I Island
  • Royal Penguins
  • Ross Sea
  • Scott's Hut

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Day 1: Ushuaia* In the afternoon, we embark on the MV Ortelius from 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. *The second departure starts in Invercargill, New Zealand and offers the same itinerary as described hereunder, but in reverse. Day 2 - 3: At Sea At sea enroute to the Antarctic Peninsula Day 4: Antarctica We arrive in the Antarctic Peninsula and sail in the early morning through the spectacular Lemaire Channel and land on Pléneau Island, where Elephant Seals 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 Imperial Cormorants (Blue-eyed Shags). Petermann Island was named after the German geographer August Petermann who was a member of a German Expedition in 1873-74. Day 5: Fish Islands Sailing south through the Penola Strait, we cross the Polar Circle and 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. Detaille Island was discovered by the French expedition of Charcot (1903-05) and named for a share holder in the Magellan Whaling Company. From 1956 till 1959, The British Antarctic Survey had their “Station W” located on Detaille Island. On both locations we may observe Adélie Penguins and Blue-eyed Shags. Days 6 - 7: At sea Sailing through the Bellingshausen Sea, where we may see our first pack-ice. Day 8: Peter I Island 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 by its own. It is sporadically visited by passenger vessels. On earlier landings groups of Elephant Seals and colonies of Southern Fulmars and Cape Pigeons have been seen. Days 9 - 14: At sea These days we sail through the Amundsen Sea along and through the outer fringes of the pack-ice, which - depending on ice-conditions - will give us glimpses of the Antarctic Continent, 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 fulmar petrels. If the sea-ice allows, we will try to land on Shephard Island in Marie Byrd Land among colonies of Chinstrap Penguins and South Polar Skua's. Shephard Island was discovered by the US Antarctic Expeditions (USAS) of 1939-41 and was named after one of the promoters of this expedition: John Shephard. Day 15: Approaching Ross Ice Shelf We approach the Ross Ice Shelf, a floating mass of land-ice, with a front of 30 meters high. We intend to offer a helicopter landing on the Ross Ice Shelf. 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. For us it is perhaps a chance to climb on the shelf as well. Day 16: Ross Ice Shelf Along the Ross Ice Shelf we sail to the west. Days 17 - 21: Ross Island, Cape Royds, Cape Evans In the Ross Sea we intend to visit Ross Island, guarded by Mount Erebus, Mount Terror and Mount Bird 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. We will further make attempts to visit the US-station McMurdo and Scott Base (New Zealand). If ice and weather conditions are favourable, we will use the helicopters to offer landings. From Castle Rock we will have a great view across the Ross Ice Shelf toward the South Pole. We will have a view into Taylor Valley, one of the Dry Valleys, where on our planet you are closest to the conditions on Mars. For the Dry Valleys we plan to use our helicopters. This is just one example of helicopter use during this epic voyage. Days 22 - 23: Sailing northward Sailing northward along the eastern west coast of the Ross Sea ,we pass by the Drygalski Ice Tongue and the Italian Station in Terra Nova Bay and further cape Hallet. Day 24: Cape Adare Cape Adare 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. Day 25: At sea Working our way through the sea-ice at the entrance of the Ross Sea. Days 26 - 28: At sea We sail along the Balleny Islands, discovered in 1839 by the British captain John Balleny. Further sailing towards Campbell Island Day 29: Campbell 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. Days 30 - 31: At Sea During these sea days we are making our way to Invercargill, New Zealand. Day 32: Invercargill, New Zealand We arrive in Bluff, the port for Invercargill (New Zealand) where passengers depart for their homebound journey. PLEASE NOTE: Helicopter transfers: During those voyages we will transfer our passengers ashore by zodiac. But, we will surely also operate our two helicopters if zodiacs can not be used. Potential candidates for helicopter transfers are Peter I Island, The Ross Ice-shelf, the Dry Valleys, Mc Murdo Station, Cape Evans (hut of Scott) and Cape Royds (hut of Shackleton). In theory we plan on five helicopter based landings, but a specific amount of helicopter time can not be predicted. The use of helicopters is a great advantage and can support us in our goal to reach certain landing sites, that otherwise are almost inaccessible. But, this is a true expedition and we operate our itinerary in the world’s most remote area, ruled by the forces of nature, weather and ice conditions. Conditions may change rapidly, having its impact on the helicopter operation and passengers should understand and accept this. Safety is our greatest concern and no compromises can be made. No guarantees can be given and no claims will be accepted. The vessel is equipped with two helicopters, but in the case that one helicopter is unable to fly due to for example a technical failure, the helicopter operation will cease or even be cancelled, due to the fact that one helicopter always needs to be supported by a second operational helicopter. No guarantees can be given and in no event will claims be accepted. Special notes:

  • Crossing the Date Line: Both departures have a total duration of 31 nights / 32 days. However, looking at the starting and ending dates of the voyages, it “seems” that the first has a duration of 32 nights and the second voyage 30 nights. This is explained by the fact that we cross the “date line” at 180 degrees longitude. Travelling on the first voyage and crossing the International Date Line, results in a day being added whereas the second results in a day being subtracted. In any case, the duration of the voyage is still 31 nights / 32 days for both voyages.
  • Voyage OTL27 ends in Ushuaia, Argentina and starts in Invercargill and offers the same itinerary as described above, but in reverse.

Expedition Vessel: M/V Ortelius

The ice-strengthened vessel Ortelius is an excellent vessel for Polar expedition cruises in the Arctic and Antarctica, providing possibilities to adventure in remote locations such as the Ross Sea and Franz Josef Land. Ortelius was built in Gdynia, Poland in 1989, was named Marina Svetaeva, and served as a special purpose vessel for the Russian Academy of Science. The vessel is now re-flagged and renamed Ortelius. She offers a comfortable hotel standard, with two restaurants, a bar/lecture room and a sauna. Her voyages are primarily developed to offer our passengers a quality exploratory wildlife program, trying to spend as much time ashore as possible. As the number of passengers is limited to approximately 106, flexibility assures maximum wildlife opportunities.

For full information about this vessel click here:

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