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Antarctica: Ross Sea and the Far Side

37 days from £27,817pp

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Antarctica: Ross Sea and the Far Side


Private Journey


Day 1

Arrive in Buenos Aires. Transfer to your hotel in the chic Recoleta district.
You will be escorted to your hotel in the chic residential district of Recoleta by one of our local representatives.

Buenos Aires is an elegant, cultured and cosmopolitan city famed for its interesting museums and the fascinating port district of La Boca, with its cobbled streets and brightly painted houses. It was here that the tango was born, and Diego Maradona honed his footballing skills.\,/p\.

The centre of town is home to the colonial heartland, government buildings and churches, as well as chic shopping districts, which have a nostalgic Parisian feel. The bohemian quarter of San Telmo is full of quaint old houses interspersed with antiques shops, tango bars and classy restaurants. Slightly further out of the centre is the Recoleta district, even more evocative of French belle époque and Italian influence.

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Buenos Aires

Day 2

Guided city tour.

Your small-group guided city tour takes you along Avenida 9 de Julio, one of the widest boulevards in the world and studded by the Obelisk, an emblematic symbol of the city. Along this majestic highway is the 19th century Teatro Colón which, in terms of its architecture and design, as well as its excellent acoustics, is considered one of world’s best. On to the Plaza de Mayo, enclosed on 3 sides by the metropolitan cathedral, the town hall and the Casa Rosada, the presidential palace. The tour continues to bohemian, arty La Boca, which was settled and built by Italian immigrants and has streets lined with brightly painted corrugated iron-clad houses. Visit the district of Recoleta.

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Buenos Aires

Day 3

Fly south to Ushuaia (Tierra del Fuego), overnight in hotel.

Transfer to the airport and fly to Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego, southern Patagonia. The city has grown rapidly in recent years, partly as a result of government incentives to settlers, and its establishment as a Free Port, and partly a tourist centre - most Antarctic cruises, like yours, leave from the port here. The setting is spectacular; jagged mountains hem in the town down to the shore of the Beagle Channel. Spend a night here prior to embarking on your cruise ship.

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Day 4

Embark MV Ortelius; sail along the Beagle Channel.

Walk to the nearby jetty and embark the expeditionary ship Ortelius. Set sail along the Beagle Channel, so named after the HMS Beagle which later took Charles Darwin on his explorations around the South American continent. Cruise through the wildlife-rich waters of the open ocean. Lectures introduce passengers to the various bird species and marine life that will become features of the expedition.

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Beagle Channel

Days 5-6

Cross the Drake Passage.

Cross the Drake Passage, hundreds of kilometres of open water and the shortest crossing between Antarctica and the rest of the world. Very occasionally the crossing is gentle, but the odds are against it. Force 5/6 winds are considered normal conditions. Whales and dolphins can often be seen as well as an abundance of marine birds such as petrel, albatross and penguin. During this part of the voyage, there are briefings and presentations on the Antarctic ecosystem.

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Day 7

Arrive at the Antarctic Peninsula.
Arrive at and explore the Antarctic Peninsula, the most accessible area of the continent which hosts some of the most interesting scenery and wildlife, as well as many of the continent’s scientific bases. The ship edges southwards through the slush and abstract patterns formed by the fractured sea.

The ship plans to sail in the early morning amid the soaring peaks and stark rocks of Lemaire Channel and later visit Petermann Island, where you may encounter gentoo, chinstrap and Adélie penguins, petrel, shag, elephant and fur seal, and perhaps whales en route.

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Lemaire channel

Day 8

Cross the Polar Circle.

Sailing south through the Penola Strait, you 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. You may observe Adélie penguins and blue-eyed shags.

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Adelie penguins

Days 9-10

Sail through the Bellingshausen Sea.

Sail through the Bellingshausen Sea, where you may see pack-ice for the first time.

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Tabular ice

Day 11

Visit Peter Island.

Peter I Island is an uninhabited volcanic island (19km 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 only sporadically visited by passenger vessels. On previous landings groups of elephant seals and colonies of southern fulmars and Cape pigeons have been seen.

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Days 12-17

Sail through the Amundsen Sea.
Sail through the Amundsen Sea along and through the outer fringes of the pack-ice, which - depending on ice-conditions - will give you glimpses of the Antarctic Continent. The voyage along and through the ice is very lively, with sightings of single straggling Emperor penguins, groups of seals on ice-floes, and also orca and minke whales along the ice-edge, often accompanied by different species of fulmar petrels.

If the sea-ice allows, there will be a landing on Shepard Island in Marie Byrd Land among colonies of chinstrap penguins and South Polar skuas. Shepard Island was discovered by the US Antarctic Expeditions of 1939-41 and was named after one of the promoters of this expedition: John Shepard.

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Chinstrap penguins

Day 18

Approach the Ross Ice Shelf.

Approach the Ross Ice Shelf, a floating mass of land-ice, with a front 30m high. If conditions allow there will be 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 after 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.

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Ross ice shelf

Day 19

Continue sailing.

Sail along the Ross Ice Shelf.

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Days 20-25

Explore the Ross Sea.

In the Ross Sea the intention is to visit Ross Island, guarded by Mount Erebus, Mount Terror and Mount Bird. These are all infamous places which played an important role in the dramatic British expeditions of the 20th century. If possible, the ship will visit Cape Evans where you find the cabin of Robert Falcon Scott. From Hut Point Scott and his men set out for the South Pole. Attempts will be made to visit the US-station McMurdo and Scott Base (New Zealand). If ice and weather conditions are favourable, helicopters will be used to offer landings.

From Castle Rock there is a great view across the Ross Ice Shelf toward the South Pole. There’s a view into Taylor Valley, one of the Dry Valleys, where Earth has conditions resembling those on Mars. For exploration of the Dry Valleys the plan is to use helicopters.

We expect the ship to be in this region when it crosses the International Date Line. This means a whole calendar day will be skipped as the voyage progresses from east to west.

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Ice floe Antarctica

Days 26-27

Sail north along the coast of the Ross Sea.

Sailing northward along the eastern west coast of the Ross Sea, passing the Drygalski Ice Tongue, the Italian Station in Terra Nova Bay and Cape Hallet.

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Antarctic ice floe

Day 28

Arrive at Cape Adare.

Arrive at Cape Adare, where humans wintered on the Antarctic Continent for the very first time. The hut where the Norwegian Borchgrevink stayed in 1899 is surrounded by the largest colony of Adélie Penguins in the world.

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Adelie penguin

Days 29-34

At sea toward Macquarie and Campbell Islands

At sea. The ship will work her way through the sea-ice at the entrance of the Ross Sea, later sailing along Scott Island en route to Macquarie and Campbell Islands.

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Ice floes

Day 35

Arrive at Campbell Island, a New Zealand reserve and UNESCO heritage site.

Arrive at Campbell Island, a sub-Antarctic New Zealand Reserve and a Unesco World Heritage Site, with luxuriant vegetation. The fauna on Campbell Island includes 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 sooty 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 seal, fur seal and sea-lion numbers have recovered.

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Days 36-37

Sail to and arrive at Invercargill, New Zealand; disembark.

The ship makes her way to Invercargill, New Zealand. The ship is due to arrive in Bluff, the port for Invercargill (New Zealand) on 15 February 2020, where passengers depart for their homebound or onward journey.

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