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, Culture, Hiking
$999,999,999 to $0
Set on the River Derwent, Hobart is very much a city of the sea with views of the Derwent estuary appearing around every corner. Historic 19th century waterfront warehouses remain, still bordering the commercial fishing harbor, though today it is easier to feast on seafood at one of the restaurants they now house. Hobart is the finishing line for the famed blue water Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race and its deep harbor precinct once bustled with whalers, soldiers, petty bureaucrats and opportunistic businessmen. A walk through the town will reveal that the city has resisted the pressure to move with the times, having retained and preserved old buildings such as the Parliament built by convicts in the 1830's.
Enjoy the time at sea to take advantage of onboard amenities, including a gym with sweeping ocean views, state-of-the-art lecture theater and Jacuzzi on the Sun Deck.
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. This is where you will collect the Tasmanian Parks & Wildlife Rangers who will be your guides.
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 being stark reminders of the exploitation which took place on the island during its early history.
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 are given by some of the foremost experts in their fields including botany, marine biology, anthropology and history.
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 the icebergs may be sighted in this region. 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.
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 opportunistic landings. These may include:
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.
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.
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 were forced to over-winter in a snow cave until their departure on the 30th September 1912 for Ross Island across the sea ice. 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.”
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 it is hoped to enter the hut with guides. Also, 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.
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.
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 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 the site, which is spectacular, surrounded by black volcanic hills. High above the huts is the lonely grave and cross of Borchgrevink's biologist.
As you make your way toward Campbell Island, 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 are given by some of the foremost experts in their fields including botany, marine biology, anthropology and history.
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. 50 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.
Sites in Port Ross may be visited including an abandoned Maori settlement, a German expedition observation point at Terror Cove and a WWII coast watching station at Ranui Cove. In Carnley Harbour 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 Harbour. The birdlife of Auckland Island is profuse.
Two small rocky islands, North East and Broughton, comprise The Snares, the closest sub-Antarctic islands to New Zealand. The islands are covered with heavy tussock grass and wind-beaten forests of tree daisies. Weather permitting, Zodiacs will be launched for an exploration of the sheltered eastern coastline as the island's wildlife protection program precludes landings. The Snares are home to huge numbers of breeding birds, 99 recorded species including Albatross, Antarctic Terns and Snares Crested Penguins.
Today makes the end of your adventure. Disembark in Bluff, New Zealand. A complimentary transfer from Orion to Invercargill will be provided. The transfer is to the city center, or to the Invercargill airport.
Accommodations onboard the ship; cruise transportation; all meals onboard; 24-hour room service; a range of shore excursions led by expedition team; expedition parka; 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; govt. fees & taxes; services of crew.
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).