Unexplored Antarctica - Cruise half around the continent
Travel in the footsteps of the great Antarctic explorers during an unrivalled half-circumnavigation that will sail between the far south of the American continent and New Zealand. A four weeks long journey to the boundaries of the known world will take you on an exceptional adventure along the Antarctic Continent. Here, time seems to stand still and the horizon stretches into infinity.
Like a real explorer, you will challenge ice and sea to reach our planet’s most remote and least-known regions, even by Antarctic standards. The legendary southern seas of Bellingshausen and Amundsen, the Ross Sea which is often called 'the last ocean', and the infamous Drake Passage. Antarctic exploration cannot be separated from the pioneers who first travelled to these extreme lattitudes to chart new territories.
Unique to this semi-circumnavigation of Antarctica is the exploratory approach to some of the least-known sites in the region, including Charcot Island, Peter I Island and Marie Byrd Land. Locations you won't visit on any other expeditions cruise. Almost completely inaccessable due to a thick ice floe, it is a privilege to just be able to see the shores!
WildlifeOn this extensive voyage you have good chances of seeing crabeater, leopard and Weddell seals; royal, king and Adelie penguins; humpback whales and even orcas. The coastal areas along the Bellingshausen Sea are also known to house colonies of emperor penguins. You might be lucky enough to observe some of these majestic birds.
The below itinerary is an example and highlights a few of the extraordinary locations you might visit during a semi-circumnavigation of Antarctica.
A semi-circumnavigation of Antarctica can be sailed in both directions. Depending on the voyage of your choice, you will either depart from New Zealand or Argentina. The sailing schedule, landings, activities and wildlife encounters are subject to weather and ice conditions. Every voyage is unique and experiences vary with each departure.
Zodiacs will be used for outings and shore visits throughout the cruise. Getting you closer to calving glaciers, huge icebergs and polar wildlife. You will have many memorable moments that very few people will ever have the chance of experiencing. An open mind and adventurous spirit will make this expedition cruise truly unforgettable.
Charcot Island, discovered by the French explorer Jean-Baptiste Charcot, remains in many ways a mystery, even to this day. The island is completely covered in ice and inaccessible cliffs, except for the rocky outcrops in the far north-west. The ice sheet surrounding the island has been breaking up in recent times, detaching it from its neighbour, Alexander Island, lying 50 km away. Very few people have landed on this largely untouched island, whose waters attract numerous seabirds, such as petrels, Antarctic terns and skuas.
While exploring the Bellingshausen sea you can expect vast areas of ice floe, big blocks of sea ice and majestic icebergs. Its' waters surround two of the Antarctic’s largest islands, Alexander Island and Thurston Island, both predominantly ice-covered. The coastal areas along the Bellingshausen Sea are also known to house emperor penguins colonies. Depending on the time of your visit, you might be lucky enough to observe isolated adults or adolescents wandering alone.
Peter I Island
Peter I Island is located 450 km away from the Antarctic coast. It was discovered in 1821 by Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen who named the island after the Russian tsar Peter the Great. Peter I Island is a volcanic island, with a 100-metre (330 ft) wide circular crater at its' top. Nearly the entire island is covered by glaciers, it is surrounded by a 40-meter (130 ft) high ice front with vertical cliffs and enclosed by pack ice most of the year. These features make it exceptionally hard to land here.
Amundsen Sea & Marie Byrd Land
Amundsen Sea lies in between Bellingshausen Sea to the west and the Ross Sea to the east. This seemingly infinite body of water and floating ice will immerse you in a feeling of tranquillity. Crossing this sea towards your next destination is a perfect moment to enjoy the ships onboard facilities. Take some time for yourself in the spa or simply sit back an relax while admiring the ever changing views.
Bordered by the Amundsen Sea, Marie Byrd Land is one of the most remote territories of our planet, even by Antarctic standards. Most of it has never been claimed by any sovereign state, due to its inaccessibility. Not only the ice floe makes it difficult to reach. Marie Byrd Land, covering a large part of Western Antarctica, is also isolated from the rest of the continent by the Transantarctic Mountains. It is a privilege to just be able to get close enough to contemplate its shores!
Scientist call the Ross Sea ‘The last ocean’, as it has been the world’s largest marine protected area since 2016. This area was the stage of the most impressive expeditions by explorers like James Clark Ross, who discoverd the gigantic Ross ice shelf, and later Ernest Shackleton and Robert Falcon Scott. Weather and ice conditions permitting, you might be able to discover one of these two emblematic
locations. A possible landing site is Cape Adare, home to one of the world’s largest Adelie penguin colonies. On Ross Island, at the base of Mount Erebus, you might visit Cape Royds and Cape Evans, where the famous explorers Shackleton and Scott set up their base camps. In the McMurdo Sound you might come across the surreal Taylor Glacier, famous for Antarctica’s mysterious red 'blood falls'.
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