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Scott & Shackleton's Antarctica - Ross Sea

Antarctica Cruise

Summary : Explore some of the polar regions famously charted during the first race to the South Pole by pioneering explorers Scott and Shackleton. The Ross Sea coast extends from the ice shelf northwards until it reaches the very tip of Victoria Land and Cape Adare. During your time in the Ross Sea Region you will attempt a variety of opportunistic landings, subject to weather conditions. Along the way the wildlife you encounter will astound you. The Sub-Antarctic islands are home to penguin breeding colonies numbering in the millions, Elephant Seals, Hooker Sea Lions and the endangered Wandering Albatross.

Activities : Birding, Hiking


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Day 1
Embark / Dunedin, New Zealand

The Otago region was settled by Maori's over four centuries ago, with Scottish migrants establishing a small town in 1848. After gold was discovered, Dunedin rapidly developed to (then) become New Zealand's biggest city and the country's industrial and commercial heart, and was the first city outside the U.S. to have its own tram system. Many of the ornate heritage buildings dating from this period are still standing today. The Botanic Gardens, New Zealand's first, are located at the northern end of the city on the lower slopes of Signal Hill.

Day 2
At Sea

As you make your way through the Southern Ocean, the expedition team will be on hand to prepare you for your expedition experience, giving you an overview of all aspects of Antarctic life, with lectures and presentations on wildlife, ice, environmental sustainability and the history of polar exploration. These lectures are given by some of the foremost experts in their fields including botany, marine biology, anthropology and history.

Day 3
Auckland Islands

Sites in Port Ross that may be visited include an abandoned Maori settlement, a German expedition observation point at Terror Cove and a WWII coast watching station at Ranui Cove. In Carnley Harbor, castaway depots at Camp Cove are marked by an A-frame building built in 1887 by the crew of the Awarua, inscribed with the names of people from the French Bark Angou wrecked in 1905. You may cruise to Victoria Passage, a dramatic opening at the end of Carnley Harbor. The birdlife of Auckland Island is profuse.

Day 4
At Sea

As you near the wonders of Macquarie Island, take advantage of the amenities aboard your vessel.

Day 5
Macquarie Island

Often described as one of the "wonder spots" of the world, the sub-Antarctic island of Macquarie has been said to rival South Georgia in its magnificence, scenic diversity, and prolific wildlife. Designated a wildlife sanctuary in 1933 and a World Heritage Site in 1977, Macquarie now operates a full-time manned station where biological and meteorological research is conducted.

Zodiacs will take you ashore at Sandy Bay, your planned landing site. Once ashore you'll find the bay, with its rugged backdrop of mountains and tussock-covered headlands, is home to 850,000 Royal Penguins, 150,000 breeding pairs of King Penguins, as well as Rock Hopper Penguins, Gentoo Penguins and Elephant Seals. This profusion of wildlife wasn't always so protected; the rusting remains of machinery used by whalers are stark reminders of the exploitation which took place on the island during its early history.

Day 6 – 9
At Sea

Cross the Antarctic Convergence Zone, where warm currents meet cold which rise to the surface, resulting in nutrient laden waters, a sudden and substantial drop in temperature, and abundant marine life. A band of fog defines the convergence and icebergs may be sighted in this region. You transit a vast wilderness in the company of sea birds (especially albatross and petrels), whales and dolphins. If the opportunity arises, you may try to cross directly over the South Magnetic Pole as you head south.

Day 10 – 15
Ross Sea Region

This southernmost expanse of the Pacific Ocean was named after James Clark Ross who first explored the area in 1841. The Ross Sea coast extends from the ice shelf northwards until it reaches the very tip of Victoria Land and Cape Adare. Subject to weather conditions, you will attempt a variety of landings. These may include:

Cape Adare - Cape Adare was discovered by Captain James Ross in 1841. Plan to visit Borchgrevink's Hut from the British Southern Cross Expedition, the first to ever spend winter in the Antarctic, in 1899. Up to 1,000,000 Adelie Penguins have reclaimed this spectacular site, surrounded by black volcanic hills. High above the huts is the lonely grave and cross of Borchgrevink's biologist.

Cape Hallett - Following an intricate approach to Cape Hallett through thick pack ice, you land to inspect the site of an abandoned US/New Zealand base. It is a magnificent area with giant glaciers and surrounding mountains of over 4,000 meters. Weddell Seals and Adelie Penguins abound.

Inexpressible Island - Home to a small Adelie Penguin rookery, this low bleak Island is the site of an amazing story of survival, where Scott’s Northern party endured a brutal winter in a snow cave until their departure for Ross Island across the sea ice in September 1912. This is a rarely visited site but if a visit is successful, it is not hard to imagine why the men called this place “Hell with a capital H.”

Franklin Island - Attempt a Zodiac landing to go ashore near a large rookery of Adelie penguins and explore the coastline. Leopard seals may be seen cruising around the island.

Cape Royds - Shackleton's hut at Cape Royds was constructed during the British Antarctic Nimrod Expedition in 1907-1909. Ice conditions prevented him reaching Hut Point, the site of Scott's hut, so he selected Cape Royds for winter quarters. Adelie Penguins are slowly reclaiming the site which is the world's southernmost penguin rookery.

Cape Evans - Scott's 1911 Terra Nova Hut is the largest historic building in Antarctica. It served as the base for extensive scientific research, as well as Scott's journey to the South Pole. Much of Scott's equipment is well preserved and you might enter the hut with guides.

Ten men of Shackleton's ill-fated imperial trans-Antarctic expeditions were marooned here in 1915 after their ship Aurora was blown out to sea and unable to return.

Possession Islands - Subject to sea and ice conditions, land at the rarely visited small and craggy Possession Islands. One of these, Foyn Island, is covered with Adelie Penguins. The islands were discovered by James Clark Ross and Francis Crozier in 1841 during their expedition to locate the south magnetic pole.

Cape Terra Nova Bay - First discovered by Scott during his 1901-1904 expedition, the site is now occupied by an Italian base which operates a summer research station. If permission is granted, you may visit the base. It is then intended to cruise by the massive Drygalski ice tongue, which extends 70km out into the Ross Sea.

Ross Ice Shelf - The South Pole is just 1,200 kilometers away and freezing gale force winds blow sheets of snow straight off the ice cap across the Ross Ice Shelf. This is the largest floating body of ice in the world with spectacular ice cliffs soaring 30 meters above the sea and the occasional background roar as massive icebergs calve away.

Cape Bird - This wild cape at the tip of Ross Island is home to a large Adelie penguin colony and the New Zealand scientists who study them, as well as all aspects of the islands natural history at the remote scientific station.

Day 16 – 19
At Sea

As you make your way toward Campbell Island, your Expedition Team will be on hand to prepare you for your expedition experience giving you an overview of all aspects of Antarctic life, with lectures and presentations on wildlife, ice, environmental sustainability and the history of polar exploration. These are given by some of the foremost experts in their fields including botany, marine biology, anthropology and history.

Day 20
Campbell Island

Campbell Island was first discovered in January 1810 by Captain Frederick Hasselburg, master of the sealing brig, Perseverance. He named the island after his employers Robert Campbell and Co. of Sydney, and sadly drowned later that year after a boat capsized in Perseverance Harbor. Campbell is a volcanic island with fascinating rock formations. Fifty years ago, between 2 and 3 million Rock Hopper Penguins were nesting on the island, but since then , 90% have been decimated by bacterial infection. Less than 20 pairs of Wandering Albatross nests are found here. Approximately 8,500 pairs of Royal Albatross and about 74,000 pairs of Black Browed Mollymawk also call the island home. Over 40 other breeds of birds including the Southern Royal Albatross have also been observed on Campbell Island.

Day 21
At Sea

Make your way to port while enjoying informative and entertaining presentations. Reflect on your journey with fellow travelers.

Day 22
Dunedin, New Zealand

Cruise all the way into Dunedin city wharf (whereas other vessels berth at Port Chalmers) and spend a full day ashore to enjoy this charming city, regarded as one of the best preserved Victorian and Edwardian cities in the Southern Hemisphere.


Ports of call and itinerary may be subject to weather and tidal conditions, and is subject to change.

Accommodations onboard the ship; cruise transportation; all meals onboard; 24-hour room service; a range of shore excursions led by expedition team; entertainment and educational programs; use of ship's sporting equipment and facilities; port & handling charges; Zodiac excursions and tender transfers; access to the ship's library; government fees and taxes; services of crew.

Not Included:
Airfare; items of a personal nature, including but not limited to: travel and medical insurance; rubber boots for shore excursions; laundry charges; shopping onboard; bar expenses; hair dressing and massage treatments; optional shore experiences; medical treatment; telephone and Internet charges; gratuities for individual staff members (optional).

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