Home » M/V Ortelius: Weddell Sea Emperor Penguin Voyage
This is your unique chance to be part of a true expedition voyage! The Emperor Penguin rookery (ca. 4,000 breeding pairs) is situated south of Snow Hill Island. The idea is mainly to situate ourselves in or between the Antarctic Sound and James Clark Ross Island, close to the ice-edge and observe the emperor penguins on their way to the open water. A helicopter will be used in attempts to search for individual emperor penguins, to make scenic flights and to make helicopter landings in places otherwise inaccessible so early in the season.
Duration: 11 Days
In the afternoon, we embark in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world located at the Beagle Channel and sail through this scenic waterway for the rest of the evening.
During these two days we will sail across the Drake Passage. When we cross the Antarctic Convergence, we arrive in the circum-Antarctic up welling zone. In this area we may meet 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.
A typical itinerary in the Weddell Sea could be as follows. This is a sample only, the final itinerary will be determined by the Expedition Leader on board.
We will sail into the Weddell Sea and if the Antarctic Sound is accessible and the ice does not prevent us to sail further, we might see the huge tabular icebergs that announce our arrival to the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula. We plan to offer an Antarctic Continent landing at Brown Bluff.
During these days we use the ship and the helicopters in our attempts to find individual Emperor Penguins. During our previous voyages we have had a high success rate in locating emperors. We will also offer scenic flights and – if the conditions allow us – possible helicopter landings on tabular ice-bergs and locations otherwise inaccessible so early in the season.
Possible landing sites is, for example, Brown Bluff, probably the most scenic spot in the entire northern tip of the Antarctic Continent. With steep canyon walls and tumbled boulders, an ice-cap looming above, beautiful volcanic creations and the scene is complete with thousands of Adélie penguins nesting on the slopes. A few Gentoo’s is mixed in for fun.
Helicopter flights are a great contribution to the voyage, for example on the west side of the Antarctic Sound, an area usually only rarely seen from the air. The scenery is stunning with landscapes of layered sandstones, lava flows, glaciers tumbling into the sea and ice-bergs and pack-ice as far as the eye can see. We can observe individual Emperor Penguins and Adélie Penguins on the ice floes; Cape-, Snow, and Giant Petrels fly high in the sky while Kelp Gulls, skuas and Wilson’s Storm Petrels scavenge down below us. The landscape is dominated by Jagged mountains pierced through the ice-caps and walls of ice dropped onto the slopes below.
A beautiful helicopter flight over huge icebergs and fast ice can also be made close to View Point in Duse Bay. We land on a rocky hillock close to an old refuge hut overlooking the bay. There will be still a lot of snow and ice but much of the intended walk on the Antarctic continent will be over a beautiful frost-shattered rock, almost entirely covered with the most fascinating lichen of all shapes and colors.
If the ice-situation allows us to go further into the Weddell Sea area, we will visit Devil Island and Vega Island with a large colony of Adélie Penguins and a magnificent view for those hikers who can make it to the top of the hill. Melting ice sometimes provides spectacular waterfall from the cliffs close to point ‘Well-Met’. Further south, we may also visit Seymour Island, where many fossils can be found.
On our way north through the Antarctic Sound we might pay a visit to the Argentinean station Esperanza on the Antarctic Continent. We will still look out for Emperor Penguins on the ice-floes. In the afternoon we may visit Gourdin Island, with three penguin species; Chinstrap, Gentoo and Adélie.
**Alternative program if the route to Snow hill Island is free of multi-year back-ice (less than 50% chance)
Day 5 - 6: The use of helicopters has a great advantage and can support us in our goal to reach the Emperor Penguin colony, but the itinerary is ruled by the forces of nature, ice and weather conditions. If the conditions are favourable, we intend to spend the first two days in the Emperor Penguin rookery. The helicopter operation will take a full day and the flight duration takes approximately 15 minutes. The helicopter can accommodate 6 passengers per helicopter flight. The landing point of the helicopters will be carefully chosen and we will make sure that the Emperors Penguins are not disturbed or stressed by helicopter noise. Therefore, after arrival, the passengers continue their expedition on foot. After a walk of approx. 45 minutes, passengers will experience an amazing rendezvous with the magnificent Emperor Penguins. Keep in mind that we are in the world’s most remote area and there are no guarantees, including a specific amount of helicopter time. 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.
In the morning we will sail to Deception Island where we have the last landing of our voyage at Pendulum Cove or Whalers Bay. From there we depart into the Drake Passage around noon.
In the Drake Passage we have again a chance of seeing many seabirds and to take advantage of the knowledge of our lecture team.
We arrive in the morning in Ushuaia and disembark after breakfast.
|19 Nov 2020 - 29 Nov 2020||$11500 USD pp|
|Quadruple Porthole Cabin||USD $11500pp||Contact us|
|Twin Porthole Cabin||USD $13100pp||Contact us|
|Twin Window Cabin||USD $13700pp||Contact us|
|Twin Deluxe Cabin||USD $14250pp||Contact us|
|Superior Cabin||USD $15100pp||Contact us|
Located on deck 3; two porthole windows, 2 upper and 2 lower berths, private shower and toilet, desk and chair, hair dryer and ample storage space.
Located on Deck 3; two portholes, 1 upper and 2 lower berths, private shower and toilet, desk and chair, hair dryer and ample storage space.
Located on Deck 3 and on Deck 4; two porthole windows, private toilet and shower, two single lower berths, desk and chair, hair dryer and ample storage space. Cabins on deck 4 are quieter than cabins on deck 3: farther away from the noise of engines and generators. Access to the forward observation deck.
Three windows; 2 lower berths; Private shower & toilet; Desk & chair; Flatscreen TV; Telephone & WiFi (supplemented); Hair dryer; Ample storage space
Located on Deck 5; three 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
Located on Deck 5; two windows minimum, one double bed, one single (sofa) bed, private toilet and shower, desk and chair, flat screen TV, refrigerator, hairdryer, coffee & tea maker, ample storage space. The quietest cabin deck and has the best access to upper observation decks and the ship's bridge.
A helicopter will be on board during the voyage. Providing the conditions, such as but not limited to ice and weather conditions, ship-to-shore helicopter transfers will be offered but no guarantees can be given, including a specific amount of helicopter time.