Weddell Sea Emperor Penguin Voyage with Helicopters 11 daysAboard: MV Ortelius
In the Weddell Sea area, an emperor penguin rookery is situated south of Snow Hill Island. The captain of the vessel will do his utmost to position the vessel close enough to Snow Hill Island in order to enable us to offer ship-to-shore helicopter transfers to within about 45 minutes' walking distance of the colonies. If we succeed, this will be a fascinating and a once-in-a lifetime experience. This is just the highlight of a voyage of many discoveries.
During this voyage we will reserve three days to visit the Emperor Rookeries by helicopters. If we succeed the first two days, we may decide to offer an alternative landing in the Weddell Sea on the third day, such as Paulet Island where we can visit a fantastic Adelie penguin colony with approximately 1 million breeding pairs.
- Great chance of seeing emperor penguins
- Helicopter flight
- Other marine wildlife
- Other penguins and birds
- Spectacular scenery
- Luggage transfer to ship and group transfer from ship
- Full board accommodation on board
- All zodiac excursions and landings with expert guides
- Ship-to-shore helicopter transfers (no specific amount of helicopter time guaranteed)
- Programme of expert lectures
- Loan of rubber boots
So much to experience
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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 and encounter a variety of seabirds, possibly including wandering, grey-headed, black-browed and the beautiful light-mantled sooty albatrosses, southern fulmars, Wilson's storm, Cape, blue and Antarctic petrels. Near the South Shetland Islands, we spot our first icebergs.
A typical itinerary in the Weddell Sea could be as follows. This is a sample only. The Expedition Leader on board will determine the final itinerary.
We hope to sail into the Weddell Sea via the Antarctic Sound. Huge tabular icebergs will announce our arrival to the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula. 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 may also offer scenic flights and – if the conditions allow us – possible helicopter landings in locations otherwise inaccessible so early in the season.
The western side of the Antarctic Sound is an area only rarely seen from the air. The scenery is stunning with landscapes of layered sandstones, lava flows, glaciers tumbling into the sea and icebergs 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 below us. The landscape is dominated by Jagged mountains piercing 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 may 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.
Seymour Island just north of Snow Hill Island is the place where the Swedish Antarctic Expedition from 1901-04 overwintered under miraculous circumstances. The sedimentary rocks include a large array of fossils and some spectacular views. We may also make use of our flotilla of Zodiacs on board and if the ice-situation allows us we will go further into the Weddell Sea area.
Opportunities for Zodiac activities are very good and may include places like Devil Island, near Vega Island, which is home to 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’.
Brown Bluff is yet another stunning place on the Continent and home to a large Adelié penguin rookery, Gentoo penguins, and nesting Snow petrels. Gourdin Island, with three penguin species (Chinstrap, Gentoo and Adélie) is yet another option for great adventure. The Argentinean station Esperanza on the Antarctic Continent may also be an option to visit.
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.
Arrive and disembark
A view from Above
Ortelius was built as a Russian scientific survey ship with ice strengthened hull, ideal for polar sailing. She has been completely refurbished and has a selection of suites and cabins with windows or portholes and either private or shared facilities. There are twin dining rooms, lecture room, bar and observation lounge and lots of open deck space plus an open-bridge policy. Ortelius also has a helicopter landing pad and helicopter excursions are available on some itineraries.
we work hard to earn passionate reviews from our clients.
Now that I am back from my odyssey voyage, I thought I would let you know that after all that planning it really did exceed my expectations – we managed landings everywhere even on Tristan da Cuhna and had great bird sightings. The guides all knew what they were talking about too and made sure I got some great photos – still sorting them all out! Thanks for everything and see you at Birdfair!Dave Martin
Overall I think that it was an excellent trip that was well worth the price paid and I would have no hesitation recommending your company to others.Steve Sutton
Just a quick note to express my sincere thanks to you and all your staff for making this an epic adventure of immense proportions. Everything went smoothly, pickups, hotels and most of all the expedition itself. Truly a mind blowing experience unlike any I have ever taken.Mr J Borg, Malta
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