Antarctica spectacular – eastbound

Join PolarXL for a spectacular expedition to the Ross Sea. Our first Discovery Cruise voyages to the Ross Sea were successfully completed in 2013. Join us for an new exploratory voyage to Campbell Island, home to the Southern Royal Albatross, to the huts of Shackleton and Scott on Ross Island, to the Bay of Whales and Kainan Bay, the starting points from where Norwegian Amundsen and the Japanese Shirase gained access to the ice-shelf in 1911 and 1912, and where Byrd wintered in Little America.

Day 1: Embarkation in Ushuaia
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.

Day 2 – 3: At sea
At sea.

Day 4: Lemaire Channel and Pléneau Island
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.

Day 5: Prospect Point
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.

Day 6 – 7: Bellinghausen Sea
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 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.

Day 9 – 14: Amundsen Sea!
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.

Day 15: Ross Sea!
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.

Day 16: Ross Ice Shelf
Along the Ross Ice Shelf we sail to the west.

Day 17 – 21: Cape Evans
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.

Day 22 – 23: Drygalski Ice Tongue, Terra Nova Bay
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.

Day 24: Cape Adare
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.

Day 25 – 29: Ross Sea
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.

Day 30: 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.

Day 31: At sea en-route to Bluff
At sea en-route to Bluff, New Zealand.

Day 32: Disembark in Bluff, New Zealand
We arrive in Bluff where you depart for your homebound journey.

INSURANCE:
Travel insurance is mandatory for all expedition cruises, including a medical, accident and repatriation/evacuation insurance. The repatriation/evacuation must be insured at cost, not a maximum amount. In case of a medical problem arising during the voyage, either on board or on shore, which results in costs for medical treatment, evacuation, use of aircraft or repatriation etc. the responsibility for payment of these costs belongs solely to the passenger. It is mandatory for the passenger to ensure that such eventualities are covered by travel insurance (incl. medical, accident and repatriation/evacuation insurance). In any case, if not covered by appropriate travel insurance the responsibility still remains with the passenger and PolarXL and its partners specifically decline any responsibility whatsoever.

Although not mandatory, we strongly recommend taking out a cancellation insurance for your cruise. During the booking on the PolarXL website you can indicate if you want to take out a cancellation insurance through PolarXL. Alternatively, you can decide to take out the insurance yourself at your insurance agency.
The itinerary for all expedition cruises is for guidance only and this also applies to this particular cruise. Programs may vary depending on local ice and weather conditions, the availability of landing sites and opportunities to see wildlife. The final itinerary will be determined by the Expedition Leader on board who will keep you informed on possibilities during the cruise. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises.

Regarding cruises in the Spitsbergen waters: since 2015 ships cruising in the waters around Spitsbergen must have either a local pilot or a two licensed officers on board. In case of a pilot coming on board this will mean the pilot will take control of the ship and the route. In some instances it is necessary for one of the ship’s officers to take the pilot exemption test during a cruise. This will also mean the pilot has control of the ship and the route. In case a pilot takes control of the ship it could mean that the route can partly not be done as described on our website.
This is a local law and neither PolarXL nor its partners can accept any responsibility for changes in the route should this happen.

The species mentioned on our website all regularly occur in the area mentioned. PolarXL can not guarantee you will see a certain number of species or animals, nor can we guarantee which animals you will see. In certain cases you will see fewer animals than indicated, in certain cases you will see more and different animals than indicated.

PLEASE NOTE:
The itinerary for all expedition cruises is for guidance only and this also applies to this particular cruise. Programs may vary depending on local ice and weather conditions, the availability of landing sites and opportunities to see wildlife. The final itinerary will be determined by the Expedition Leader on board who will keep you informed on possibilities during the cruise. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises.

Regarding cruises in the Spitsbergen waters: since 2015 ships cruising in the waters around Spitsbergen must have either a local pilot or a two licensed officers on board. In case of a pilot coming on board this will mean the pilot will take control of the ship and the route. In some instances it is necessary for one of the ship’s officers to take the pilot exemption test during a cruise. This will also mean the pilot has control of the ship and the route. In case a pilot takes control of the ship it could mean that the route can partly not be done as described on our website.
This is a local law and neither PolarXL nor its partners can accept any responsibility for changes in the route should this happen.

The species mentioned on our website all regularly occur in the area mentioned. PolarXL can not guarantee you will see a certain number of species or animals, nor can we guarantee which animals you will see. In certain cases you will see fewer animals than indicated, in certain cases you will see more and different animals than indicated.

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