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Ross Sea with Helicopters - January 2020/2021

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.

During those voyages we will transfer our passengers ashore by zodiac. But, we will also operate our two helicopters in certain sites where Zodiacs cannot be used. Potential candidates (not guaranteed) for helicopter transfers are Cape Evans (hut of Scott), Cape Royds (hut of Shackleton), Ross Ice Shelf at Bay of Whales, Peter I Island, and the Dry Valleys. In theory, we plan on five helicopter based landings, but a specific amount of helicopter time cannot be predicted.

Helicopter operations
The use of helicopters is a great advantage and can support us in our goal to reach certain landing sites, that otherwise are almost inaccessible. However, this is a true expedition and we operate our itinerary in the world’s most remote area, ruled by the forces of nature, weather and ice conditions. Conditions may change rapidly; having its impact on the helicopter operation and passengers should understand and accept this. Safety is our greatest concern and no compromises can be made. No guarantees can be given and no claims will be accepted. The vessel is equipped with two helicopters, but in the case that one helicopter is unable to fly due to for example a technical failure, the helicopter operation will cease or even be cancelled, due to the fact that one helicopter always needs to be supported by a second operational helicopter. No guarantees can be given and in no event will claims be accepted.

Special note: Crossing the International Date Line Depending on which direction one travels across the International Date Line, a day is either lost or gained. (Crossing westward, a day is gained; crossing eastward, a day is lost.) Please take note of this when calculating your actual time travelled. The days listed in the itinerary duration reflect the actual time travelled.

Your voyage rates include ship-to-shore helicopter transfers (with no specific amount of helicopter time guaranteed).

2021 Voyage includes Macquarie Island visit.
This itinerary is also available in reverse. Click here for additional dates.
13 January, 2020 to 15 February, 2020 Booking Request
Quadruple Porthole $ 27500 USD pp
The cabin provides you with; a porthole, 2 upper / lower berths, private shower & toilet, desk & chair, hair dryer and ample storage space.
view cabin photo
Triple Porthole $ 29900 USD pp
Same as Quadruple Porthole but with 3 berths. The cabin provides you with; a porthole, 1 upper / lower berth, 1 single lower berth, private shower & toilet, desk & ample storage facilities.
view cabin photo
Twin Porthole $ 34700 USD pp
The cabin provides you with; a porthole, 2 lower berths, private shower & toilet, desk & chair, hair dryer and ample storage space.
view cabin photo
Twin Window $ 35900 USD pp
The cabin provides you with; a window, 2 lower berths, private shower & toilet, desk & chair, hair dryer and ample storage space.
view cabin photo
Twin Deluxe $ 37700 USD pp
The cabin provides you with; 2 windows, 2 lower berths, private shower & toilet, desk & chair, flatscreen TV, a hair dryer and ample storage space. These cabins are corner cabins and are slightly more spacious than the normal twin window / porthole cabins
view cabin photo
Superior $ 39700 USD pp
The cabin provides you with; at least 2 windows, 1 double bed, 1 single (sofa) bed, private shower & toilet, desk & chair, flatscreen TV, refrigerator, hair dryer and ample storage space.
view cabin photo
13 January, 2021 to 15 February, 2021 Booking Request
Quadruple Porthole $ 27700 USD pp
2 portholes 2 upper / lower berths Private shower & toilet Desk & chair Flatscreen TV Telephone & WiFi (supplemented) Hair dryer Ample storage space
view cabin photo
Twin Porthole Deck 4 $ 34900 USD pp
2 portholes 2 lower berths Private shower & toilet Desk & chair Flatscreen TV Telephone & WiFi (supplemented) Hair dryer Ample storage space
view cabin photo
Twin Porthole Deck 3 $ 34900 USD pp
2 portholes 2 lower berths Private shower & toilet Desk & chair Flatscreen TV Telephone & WiFi (supplemented) Hair dryer Ample storage space
view cabin photo
Twin Window $ 35900 USD pp
2 windows 2 lower berths Private shower & toilet Desk & chair Flatscreen TV Telephone & WiFi (supplemented) Hair dryer Ample storage space
view cabin photo
Twin Deluxe $ 37900 USD pp
3 windows 2 lower berths Private shower & toilet Desk & chair Small sofa Refrigerator Coffee & tea maker Flatscreen TV Telephone & WiFi (supplemented) Hair dryer Ample storage space
view cabin photo
Superior $ 39900 USD pp
2 windows (minimum) 1 double bed 1 single (sofa) bed Private shower & toilet Desk & chair Flatscreen TV Telephone & WiFi (supplemented) Refrigerator Coffee & tea maker Hair dryer Ample storage space
view cabin photo

Ross Sea with Helicopters - January 2020/2021 itinerary:

show reverse itinerary
Day 1: End of the world, start of a journey
Your voyage begins where the world drops off. Ushuaia, Argentina, reputed to be the southernmost city on the planet, is located on the far southern tip of South America. Starting in the afternoon, you embark from this small resort town on Tierra del Fuego, nicknamed “The End of the World,” and sail the mountain-fringed Beagle Channel for the remainder of the evening.
Day 2 – 3: Path of the polar explorers
Over the next two days on the Drake Passage, you enjoy some of the same experiences encountered by the great polar explorers who first charted these regions: cool salt breezes, rolling seas, maybe even a fin whale spouting up sea spray. After passing the Antarctic Convergence – Antarctica’s natural boundary, formed when north-flowing cold waters collide with warmer sub-Antarctic seas – you are in the circum-Antarctic upwelling zone. Not only does the marine life change, the avian life changes too. Wandering albatrosses, grey-headed albatrosses, black-browed albatrosses, light-mantled sooty albatrosses, cape pigeons, southern fulmars, Wilson’s storm petrels, blue petrels, and Antarctic petrels are a few of the birds you might see.
Day 4: Through the Pendleton Strait
You arrive at the Antarctic Peninsula near the Antarctic Circle in the afternoon. If sea ice allows it, you can then continue through Pendleton Strait and attempt a landing at the rarely visited southern tip of Renaud Island. Here you have the opportunity to see the first Adélie penguins of the trip as well as enjoy spectacular views of the icebergs in this surreal, snow-swept environment.
Day 5 – 6: Sailing the Bellingshausen Sea
From the peninsula you head toward the open sea, your course set for Peter I Island.
Day 7: A rare glimpse of Peter I Island
Known as Peter I Øy in Norwegian, this is an uninhabited volcanic island in the Bellingshausen Sea. It was discovered by Fabian von Bellingshausen in 1821 and named after Peter the Great of Russia. The island is claimed by Norway and considered its own territory, though it is rarely visited by passenger vessels due to its exposed nature. If weather and ice conditions allow, you may enjoy a helicopter landing on the glaciated northern part of the island. This is a unique chance to land on one of the most remote islands in the world.
Day 8 – 14: Sights of the Amundsen Sea
You then sail through the Amundsen Sea, moving along and through the outer fringes of the pack ice. Ice conditions are never the same from year to year, though we aim to take advantage of the opportunities that arise if sea ice is present. Emperor penguins, groups of seals lounging on the ice floes, orca and minke whales along the ice edge, and different species of fulmarine petrels are possible sights in this area.
Day 15 – 17: The epic Ross Ice Shelf
The next goal is to enter the Ross Sea from the east, venturing south toward the Bay of Whales and close to Roosevelt Island (named in 1934 by the American aviator Richard E. Byrd for President Franklin D. Roosevelt). The Bay of Whales is part of the Ross Ice Shelf, the largest ice shelf in the world, and is constantly changing with the receding ice masses. Large icebergs are present here, along with great wildlife opportunities. Roald Amundsen gained access to the shelf en route to the South Pole, which he reached on December 14, 1911. Also, the Japanese explore Nobu Shirase had his camp in this area in 1912, at Kainan Bay. You may make a helicopter landing on the ice shelf if conditions allow. During this part of the voyage, we will also cross the International Date Line.
Day 18 – 20: Highlights of the Ross Sea
Keeping to the Ross Sea, your aim is now to visit Ross Island. In this location you can see Mount Erebus, Mount Terror, and Mount Byrd, as well as many other famous spots that played an important role in the British expeditions of the last century: Cape Royds, where Ernest Shackleton’s cabin still stands; Cape Evans, where the cabin of Robert Falcon Scott can still be seen; and Hut Point, from which Scott and his men set out for the South Pole. If ice is blocking the way but weather conditions are favorable, you may use the helicopters to land in one or more spots in this area. The New Zealand’s Scott Base is a possible location you might visit. Unfortunately Ortelius was not granted permit to visit McMurdo Station on this trip due to high activity levels on the station. Additionally, you may make a helicopter landing in Taylor Valley, one of the Dry Valleys, where conditions are closer to Mars than anywhere else on Earth.
Day 21 – 22: Exploring the inexpressible
Sailing north along the west coast of the Ross Sea, you pass the Drygalski Ice Tongue and Terra Nova Bay. If ice conditions allow, you then land at Inexpressible Island, which has a fascinating history in connection to the less-known Northern Party of Captain Scott’s expedition. It is also home to a large Adélie penguin rookery. Should sea ice prevent entry into Terra Nova Bay, you may head farther north to the protected area of Cape Hallett and its own Adélie rookery.
Day 23: The residents of Cape Adare
You next attempt a landing at Cape Adare, where for the first time humans wintered on the Antarctic Continent: The Norwegian Borchgrevink stayed in here 1899, taking shelter in a hut that to this day is surrounded by the largest colony of Adélie penguins in the world.
Day 24: Ross Sea to the Southern Ocean
Sailing through the sea ice at the entrance of the Ross Sea, you start your journey north through the Southern Ocean. The goal is to set a course for the Balleny Islands, depending on weather conditions.
Day 25: The windswept Balleny Islands
Your intended route is past Sturge Island in the afternoon, getting an impression of these windswept and remote islands before crossing the Antarctic Circle.
Day 26 – 29: Sailing among the seabirds
You once again enter the vast expanse of the Southern Ocean. Seabirds are prolific on this leg, during which we hope to enjoy good weather conditions.
Day 30: Campbell Island’s bounteous birdlife
The plan today is to visit the sub-Antarctic New Zealand Reserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Campbell Island, enjoying its luxuriantly blooming vegetation. The fauna on Campbell Island is also a highlight, with a large and easily accessible colony of southern royal albatrosses on the main island. Breeding on the satellite islands are wandering, Campbell, grey-headed, black-browed, and light-mantled albatrosses. There are also three breeding penguin species present: eastern rockhopper, erect-crested, and yellow-eyed penguins. In the 18th century, seals in the area were hunted to extinction, but the elephant seals, fur seals, and sea lions have since recovered.
Day 31: Enderby Island albatrosses, penguins, and shags
Another jewel in the crown of the New Zealand sub-Antarctic islands is Enderby Island. Part of the Auckland Islands, Enderby offers a vast variety of birdlife, including potential sea sightings of white-capped albatrosses, Buller’s albatrosses, and a number of other tubenoses. On Enderby Island you might also see yellow-eyed penguins, Auckland teals, and perhaps even rare and endemic Auckland shags.
Day 32: Once more to the Southern Ocean
Take in the vast horizons of your final sea day before you reach New Zealand.
Day 33: Porting in New Zealand
Every adventure, no matter how sublime, must eventually come to an end. You disembark in Bluff, the southernmost town in New Zealand, and return home with memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies.
Please Note:
Itineraries are subject to change.

Ross Sea with Helicopters - January 2020/2021 reverse itinerary:

show main itinerary
Please Note: *
Itineraries are subject to change.
Day 33: Porting in New Zealand *
Every adventure, no matter how sublime, must eventually come to an end. You disembark in Bluff, the southernmost town in New Zealand, and return home with memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies.
Day 32: Once more to the Southern Ocean *
Take in the vast horizons of your final sea day before you reach New Zealand.
Day 31: Enderby Island albatrosses, penguins, and shags *
Another jewel in the crown of the New Zealand sub-Antarctic islands is Enderby Island. Part of the Auckland Islands, Enderby offers a vast variety of birdlife, including potential sea sightings of white-capped albatrosses, Buller’s albatrosses, and a number of other tubenoses. On Enderby Island you might also see yellow-eyed penguins, Auckland teals, and perhaps even rare and endemic Auckland shags.
Day 30: Campbell Island’s bounteous birdlife *
The plan today is to visit the sub-Antarctic New Zealand Reserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Campbell Island, enjoying its luxuriantly blooming vegetation. The fauna on Campbell Island is also a highlight, with a large and easily accessible colony of southern royal albatrosses on the main island. Breeding on the satellite islands are wandering, Campbell, grey-headed, black-browed, and light-mantled albatrosses. There are also three breeding penguin species present: eastern rockhopper, erect-crested, and yellow-eyed penguins. In the 18th century, seals in the area were hunted to extinction, but the elephant seals, fur seals, and sea lions have since recovered.
Day 26 – 29: Sailing among the seabirds *
You once again enter the vast expanse of the Southern Ocean. Seabirds are prolific on this leg, during which we hope to enjoy good weather conditions.
Day 25: The windswept Balleny Islands *
Your intended route is past Sturge Island in the afternoon, getting an impression of these windswept and remote islands before crossing the Antarctic Circle.
Day 24: Ross Sea to the Southern Ocean *
Sailing through the sea ice at the entrance of the Ross Sea, you start your journey north through the Southern Ocean. The goal is to set a course for the Balleny Islands, depending on weather conditions.
Day 23: The residents of Cape Adare *
You next attempt a landing at Cape Adare, where for the first time humans wintered on the Antarctic Continent: The Norwegian Borchgrevink stayed in here 1899, taking shelter in a hut that to this day is surrounded by the largest colony of Adélie penguins in the world.
Day 21 – 22: Exploring the inexpressible *
Sailing north along the west coast of the Ross Sea, you pass the Drygalski Ice Tongue and Terra Nova Bay. If ice conditions allow, you then land at Inexpressible Island, which has a fascinating history in connection to the less-known Northern Party of Captain Scott’s expedition. It is also home to a large Adélie penguin rookery. Should sea ice prevent entry into Terra Nova Bay, you may head farther north to the protected area of Cape Hallett and its own Adélie rookery.
Day 18 – 20: Highlights of the Ross Sea *
Keeping to the Ross Sea, your aim is now to visit Ross Island. In this location you can see Mount Erebus, Mount Terror, and Mount Byrd, as well as many other famous spots that played an important role in the British expeditions of the last century: Cape Royds, where Ernest Shackleton’s cabin still stands; Cape Evans, where the cabin of Robert Falcon Scott can still be seen; and Hut Point, from which Scott and his men set out for the South Pole. If ice is blocking the way but weather conditions are favorable, you may use the helicopters to land in one or more spots in this area. The New Zealand’s Scott Base is a possible location you might visit. Unfortunately Ortelius was not granted permit to visit McMurdo Station on this trip due to high activity levels on the station. Additionally, you may make a helicopter landing in Taylor Valley, one of the Dry Valleys, where conditions are closer to Mars than anywhere else on Earth.
Day 15 – 17: The epic Ross Ice Shelf *
The next goal is to enter the Ross Sea from the east, venturing south toward the Bay of Whales and close to Roosevelt Island (named in 1934 by the American aviator Richard E. Byrd for President Franklin D. Roosevelt). The Bay of Whales is part of the Ross Ice Shelf, the largest ice shelf in the world, and is constantly changing with the receding ice masses. Large icebergs are present here, along with great wildlife opportunities. Roald Amundsen gained access to the shelf en route to the South Pole, which he reached on December 14, 1911. Also, the Japanese explore Nobu Shirase had his camp in this area in 1912, at Kainan Bay. You may make a helicopter landing on the ice shelf if conditions allow. During this part of the voyage, we will also cross the International Date Line.
Day 8 – 14: Sights of the Amundsen Sea *
You then sail through the Amundsen Sea, moving along and through the outer fringes of the pack ice. Ice conditions are never the same from year to year, though we aim to take advantage of the opportunities that arise if sea ice is present. Emperor penguins, groups of seals lounging on the ice floes, orca and minke whales along the ice edge, and different species of fulmarine petrels are possible sights in this area.
Day 7: A rare glimpse of Peter I Island *
Known as Peter I Øy in Norwegian, this is an uninhabited volcanic island in the Bellingshausen Sea. It was discovered by Fabian von Bellingshausen in 1821 and named after Peter the Great of Russia. The island is claimed by Norway and considered its own territory, though it is rarely visited by passenger vessels due to its exposed nature. If weather and ice conditions allow, you may enjoy a helicopter landing on the glaciated northern part of the island. This is a unique chance to land on one of the most remote islands in the world.
Day 5 – 6: Sailing the Bellingshausen Sea *
From the peninsula you head toward the open sea, your course set for Peter I Island.
Day 4: Through the Pendleton Strait *
You arrive at the Antarctic Peninsula near the Antarctic Circle in the afternoon. If sea ice allows it, you can then continue through Pendleton Strait and attempt a landing at the rarely visited southern tip of Renaud Island. Here you have the opportunity to see the first Adélie penguins of the trip as well as enjoy spectacular views of the icebergs in this surreal, snow-swept environment.
Day 2 – 3: Path of the polar explorers *
Over the next two days on the Drake Passage, you enjoy some of the same experiences encountered by the great polar explorers who first charted these regions: cool salt breezes, rolling seas, maybe even a fin whale spouting up sea spray. After passing the Antarctic Convergence – Antarctica’s natural boundary, formed when north-flowing cold waters collide with warmer sub-Antarctic seas – you are in the circum-Antarctic upwelling zone. Not only does the marine life change, the avian life changes too. Wandering albatrosses, grey-headed albatrosses, black-browed albatrosses, light-mantled sooty albatrosses, cape pigeons, southern fulmars, Wilson’s storm petrels, blue petrels, and Antarctic petrels are a few of the birds you might see.
Day 1: End of the world, start of a journey *
Your voyage begins where the world drops off. Ushuaia, Argentina, reputed to be the southernmost city on the planet, is located on the far southern tip of South America. Starting in the afternoon, you embark from this small resort town on Tierra del Fuego, nicknamed “The End of the World,” and sail the mountain-fringed Beagle Channel for the remainder of the evening.
* = Indicative
Map for Ross Sea with Helicopters - January 2020/2021
Ortelius, the ship servicing Ross Sea with Helicopters - January 2020/2021

Ortelius

Vessel Type: Expediton

Length: 91m

Passenger Capacity: 108-123

Built / Refurbished : 1989 / 2015

The vessel has the highest ice-class notation (UL1, equivalent to 1A) and is therefor suitable to navigate in solid one-year sea ice as well as loose multi-year pack ice. Ortelius can accommodate up to 116-123 passengers (108 passengers as of season Arctic 2020) and has an abundance of open-deck spaces. It is manned by 22 highly experienced nautical crew members, 19 hotel staff, eight expedition specialists (one expedition leader, one assistant, and six lecturer-guides), and one doctor.

Though our voyages are primarily meant to offer our passengers an exploratory wildlife program with as much time ashore as possible, Ortelius offers all the comforts of a standard hotel ― along with a bar and lecture room. Flexibility assures maximum wildlife opportunities. As such, Ortelius carries 10 Zodiacs with 60hp Yamaha engines.

Cabin layout for Ortelius
• Helicopter outings

• Peter I Island

• Southern Royal Albatross

• Ross Sea

• Scott's Hut