Spectacular Ross Sea Voyage with Helicopters 34 Days aboard MV Ortelius
Join us on this fantastic and unique Antarctica expedition as we voyage to the incredible and seldom visited Ross Sea region. Experience breathtaking scenery of a multitude of icebergs of all shapes and sizes, remarkable glaciers and the simply spectacular Ross Ice Shelf, the largest ice shelf in the world. As well as the phenomenal scenery you will also have chances of encountering the unique wildlife of the area including an abundance of penguins and other birdlife, whales, seals and sea lions as you Zodiac cruise right up to the action.
On this very special voyage we have the added benefit of the use of helicopters to allow us to visit areas which may be otherwise inaccessible by Zodiac. The plan is to make five helicopter-based landings, though a specific amount of helicopter time cannot be guaranteed in advance. Throughout your time in Antarctica you will have ample opportunities for stepping foot on the white continent and visits to the historic huts of Scott and Shackleton are included.
Your tour will be rounded off with a visit to the New Zealand sub-Antarctic islands of Campbell and Macquarie Island to discover their bountiful birdlife and fascinating landscapes, before completing your trip in the Port of Bluff on the southern tip of New Zealand.
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 and please ask if further clarification is required.
Namibia Birding and Photography GuideAn accomplished and experienced Namibia birding and photographic guide, Toni holds a Namibia Academy for Tourism and Hospitality Level 3 qualification (the highest level attainable in Namibia) and is widely renowned for her extensive knowledge of the cultures, ornithology, flora, astronomy and wildlife of the country. Read more >
Wildlife Guide & PhotographerAndy is a 6th generation Falkland Islander, with a passion for wildlife, plants and photography. Raised in the Falkland Islands, Andy developed a close affinity with the Islands natural environment at a young age. School holidays where spent in the ‘camp’ or countryside with friends and family. For more than 10 years, Andy had the privilege of spending a time on Sea Lion Island, visiting his mother who managed one of the Islands premier tourist destinations. Read more >
Photographer and founder of the Travel Photographer Of The Year awardsA fascination with natural light and a passion with nature, landscape and travel underpin Chris Coe's photography. His images often have a striking simplicity and graphic quality. More recent work has introduced a subtlety with experimentation with both movement and light.Read more >
Falklands Expert & GuideBorn in Chartres in the West Falklands, Jenny grew up on the family farm where her love for animals was nurtured by the25,000 sheep, horses and cows that lived alongside her. Forever a nature, conservation and wildlife enthusiast Jenny has travelled extensively throughout the Falkland Islands, visiting each and every wildlife island at least once, and even travelling around some by yacht. Read more >
Special Guest LecturerExclusive to this voyage, Doug Allan, a multi award winning polar photographer and cameraman, will be your special guest lecturer. Doug has been on over 20 expeditions to Svalbard to film its wildlife, and knows the wonders of this area more than most. Read more >
Special Guest Photography GuideChris was 32 when he finally realised he really did want to be a photo-journalist and walked out on his career in IT sales to become a wildlife photographer Read more >
- Rare landings in NZ sub-Antarctic islands
- Spectacular Ross Sea region of Antarctica
- Breathtaking scenery including the largest ice shelf in the world
- Thrilling helicopter landings
- Historical exploration sites
- Myriad avian and marine wildlife
- 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
ITINERARY33 Nights 34 Days
- Day 1 | Ushuaia
- Days 2 - 3 | At Sea - Drake Passage
- Day 4 | Pendleton Strait
- Days 5 - 6 | Bellingshausen Sea
- Day 7 | Peter I Island
- Days 8 - 14 | Amundsen Sea
- Days 15 - 17 | Ross Ice Shelf
- Days 18 - 20 | Ross Sea & Ross Island
- Days 21 - 22 | Inexpressible Island
- Day 23 | Cape Adare
- Days 24 - 25 | Ross Sea & Balleny Islands
- Days 26 - 28 | At Sea
- Day 29 | Macquarie Island
- Days 30 - 31 | At Sea & Campbell Island
- Day 32 | At Sea
- Day 33 | Port of Bluff
Your epic Ross Sea and Sub-Antarctic Islands expedition will begin in Ushuaia, where after having arrived independently you will embark your vessel in the afternoon. As you settle in to your cabin and explore your new surroundings your ship will sail through the scenic Beagle Channel and we recommend spending some time on deck to watch the city lights fade behind as you head into the wilderness.
At Sea - Drake Passage
During these two days we will sail across the famous Drake Passage, encountering a variety of seabirds along the way. You may want to spend some time on deck in search of bird sightings including wandering, grey-headed, black-browed and the beautiful light-mantled sooty albatross, southern fulmars, Wilson's storm, blue, Cape and Antarctic petrels. There may also be whale sightings, and your programme of entertaining and informative lectures and presentations will begin, along with safety and bio-environmental briefings for your time in Antarctica. As we pass the Antarctic Convergence and sail close to the Shetland Islands we will spot the first of many icebergs.
Welcome to Antarctica, a land of superlatives! Enchanting scenery, unique wildlife encounters and thrilling adventures await as we spend our days exploring by Zodiac, on foot and by helicopter to get up close to the action. Your exact itinerary in the region will be determined by weather and ice conditions with your captain choosing each day which areas to visit for optimum experiences, and with the added benefit of the use of helicopters we hope to experience as much of this remarkable area as possible.
Our first experience will be arriving at the Antarctic Peninsula near the Antarctic Circle in the afternoon of day 4. If sea ice allows we will 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.
These 2 days will be spent sailing through the open sea and keeping a keen eye out on deck for wildlife and birdlife sightings as we sail towards Peter I Island. Your lecture programme will continue and we recommend taking this time to relax in preparation for the adventures that lie ahead.
Peter I Island
Today we arrive at Peter I Island, an uninhabited and rarely visited volcanic island in the Bellingshausen Sea. One of the most remote islands in the world this exposed island is claimed by Norway and considered its own territory (it is known as Peter I Øy in Norwegian). If weather and ice conditions allow, we hope to enjoy the unique chance to make a helicopter landing on the glaciated northern part of the island.
Next we will enjoy 6 days of sailing through the Amundsen Sea stopping at locations along the way to take in the beautiful sights and search for sightings of wildlife. As we move along through the outer fringes of the pack ice we expect to see emperor penguins and groups of seals lounging on the ice floes, as well as orca and minke whales along the ice edge. We can also expect to see different species of fulmarine petrels as we sail. Ice conditions are never the same from year to year on this part of the journey, though we aim to take advantage of the opportunities that arise if sea ice is present.
Ross Ice Shelf
Today marks the beginning of the pinnacle of our expedition as we make our way into the Ross Sea region. The aim is to enter the Ross Sea from the east and venture south towards the Bay of Whales close to Roosevelt Island. 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. Spectacular scenic opportunities await as we plan to make a helicopter landing on the ice shelf itself, an unforgettable experience! Our time here will be filled with sightings of huge icebergs as well as bountiful wildlife and tales of history as we learn about the adventures of Roald Amundsen and the Japanese explorer Nobu Shirase who both managed to reach this exceptionally remote part of the world. During this part of the voyage, we will also cross the International Date Line.
Ross Sea & Ross Island
Keeping within the Ross Sea area we will now aim to visit Ross Island to see Mount Erebus, Mount Terror, and Mount Byrd. This area is an exceptionally important area in regards to historic Antarctic exploration and we expect to visit Cape Royds where Sir Ernest Shackleton’s cabin still stands as well as Cape Evans where the cabin of Robert Falcon Scott can still be seen. We also hope to visit 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, we may use the helicopters to land in one or more spots in this area.
Other possible locations to visit here include the scientific base of McMurdo Station from which it may be possible to take a 10km hike to Castle Rock to see the fantastic views across the Ross Ice Shelf towards the South Pole. Additionally we may visit New Zealand’s Scott Base and make a helicopter landing in Taylor Valley, one of the Dry Valleys, where conditions are closer to Mars than anywhere else on Earth.
As we sail north along the west coast of the Ross Sea passing the Drygalski Ice Tongue and Terra Nova Bay, our next aim is to make land at Inexpressible Island, which has a fascinating history in connection to the less-known Northern Party of Captain Scott’s expedition. Inexpressible is also home to a large Adélie penguin rookery that we should have the opportunity to visit. Should sea ice prevent entry into Terra Nova Bay, we may head farther north to the protected area of Cape Hallett to discover its own Adélie rookery.
Our next stop will be an attempt to land at Cape Adare to visit the largest colony of Adélie penguins in the world. Cape Adare is also steeped in historical importance as it is the site of the first area where humans ever wintered on the Antarctic Continent. The Norwegian explorer Borchgrevink stayed in here 1899, taking shelter in a hut which still stands to this day and is well worth a visit.
Ross Sea & Balleny Islands
Following our thrilling exploration of the Ross Sea area we will start our journey north through the Southern Ocean as we sail through the sea ice at the entrance of the Ross Sea on our way to the Balleny Islands. Weather dependent we pass Sturge Island to get an impression of the windswept and remote islands before crossing the Antarctic Circle, a moment that will be celebrated with delight.
Once again we will sail into the vast expanse of the Southern Ocean as we make our journey towards the Sub-Antarctic islands and New Zealand. This leg of the journey is the most prolific for seabirds so make sure to have your cameras ready on deck as we sail.
Today we will visit the World Heritage Site of Macquarie Island, where we will arrive to the sight of almost one million breeding pairs of the royal penguin alongside colonies of kings, gentoos and southern rockhoppers. Amongst the other abundance of fantastic fauna on the island we will also see elephant seals and various fur seal species, such as the New Zealand fur seal. This Tasmanian State Reserve was discovered by the Australian sealer Frederick Hasselborough and the island is also home to the permanent base of the Australian Antarctic Division.
At Sea & Campbell Island
The final adventure on our journey will bring us northwest to the sub-Antarctic New Zealand Reserve of Campbell Island to enjoy its luxuriantly blooming vegetation. Campbell Island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site brimming with fauna including excellent birding opportunities. During our day here we may see a large colony of southern royal albatrosses on the main island as well as wandering, Campbell, grey-headed, black-browed, and light-mantled albatrosses on the satellite islands. There are also three breeding penguin species present here with sightings of eastern rockhopper, erect-crested, and yellow-eyed penguins. In the 18th century, seals in the area were hunted to extinction, but the elephant seal, fur seal, and sea lion populations have since recovered.
Enjoy your final day at sea relaxing and taking time to dissolve all of the unforgettable memories you will have made on your once in a lifetime expedition. Spend some time on deck soaking up the sights of the vast horizons as we make our way northwards towards New Zealand.
Port of Bluff
Your thrilling adventure will come to an end as we disembark in the Port of Bluff, the southernmost town in New Zealand.
What Our Customers
Superlatives abound – a truly amazing experience...awesome. Thanks to all for making it such a memorable experience.
We had the time of our lives on board ship...if anybody wants to go to Antarctica, we will certainly advise to go with you.
Huge congratulations to you and all the team for the perfect organisation throughout the trip. From the early planning to the last transfer, everything went without a hitch.
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!
I came to Wildfoot because a friend had booked with you when you were Antarctica Bound and they were right. Everything went perfectly, even when our flight was cancelled, you made sure we still made it to the ship with time to spare. L’Austral is a beautiful ship with first class service and food and the guides looked after us well. Very happy to recommend Wildfoot and L’Austral...
The adventure really was a 'trip of a lifetime' and we are so glad we tagged an extra day in Buenos Aires at either end and that we went Premium Economy, it made all the difference. The ship Sea Explorer was exactly as Simon had described and was very comfortable. South Georgia was the highlight but we were surprised how much wildlife there was to see on the Falklands and we might well book one of your nature trips to the Falklands in the future.
I want to thank you for all you did to make my recent Falklands trip run so smoothly and comfortably. Thank you for all your help over the diet too.
• I wanted to send you a quick thank you email. We had a fantastic trip, the boat, staff, scenery, itinerary, and pretty much everything else was incredible! Thank you so much for arranging the cabin upgrade, we were delighted to have our own room! We had a really brilliant time, and wanted to say thanks so much for being so helpful throughout, we're lucky to have found you.
We had a very special experience organized by you in Feb, especially the wedding in Antarctica and our stay in Patagonia. Thank you.
Many thanks for all you help with our polar trip which exceeded all expectations. We will certainly recommend your company and seriously consider yourselves for future trips.
I just want to thank you for all your help with my Ross Sea trip. It was really the trip of a lifetime & the ship & crew were excellent.
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.
I'm sure you get plenty of compliments, but I just want to follow up telling you what a great time we had on the MS Expedition Antarctica Classic cruise. We were very pleased with all of the staff, on the ground and on the ship. Everyone was so friendly and knowledgeable. We greatly appreciated their experience and expertise. Their very careful attention to all of the environmental rules and precautions should also be lauded. Thank you for all of your service and attention. If we're planning on one of the other regions that you serve, we'll definitely be in touch!!
We would like to thank you with all our heart for our fabulous trip. It was amazing. Everything was perfect. I recommend Antarctica and South America to everybody. Doing business with you was also a great experience. You are the best travel agent I ever met. I hope to have the chance to do business with you again in the future.
We've just got back from out trip to Patagonia and the Antarctic and want to say a big thank you to all of you at Wildfoot but specifically you, Tina and Sara, for organising our trip and sorting out all my queries before we went. You've all been thoroughly professional - and friendly with it. I always get concerned that hotels won't have received the booking, the air e-tickets won't be recognised or luggage ends up somewhere other that where we are, but I didn't need to worry as everything was well planned in advance and the various elements, air travel, two cruises, hotels etc, fitted seamlessly. You can take this as a 10 out of 10 satisfaction rating and recommendation for your company. You will certainly be my 'go to' provider if we ever do anything similar in the future. Thanks once again for our trip of a lifetime.
I just wanted to say an enormous thank you for your help with my trip. It was the best two weeks of my life! MS Expedition was amazing – their itinerary, their crew, their spirit. It was truly exceptional.One of the best things was how they arranged the rooms, I just had the best roommates and that really made a big difference to the trip. We got to see some fast ice and got out to walk on it – literally walking on the frozen sea. Amazing! I am saving for my next trip and I would not dream of going with anyone but you guys again. Good work! A dream very much come true.
I hope you’re well. I wanted to drop you a line to say we are back from Antarctica and had a wonderful time with Ponant. The trip exceeded our expectations in every respect, and I haven’t yet found enough superlatives to describe it to friends! Antarctica was breathtaking (as you know), and we loved pretty-much everything about Ponant. It was the perfect fit for us and I’m very grateful to you for taking the time to help with the booking. Having read the nightmares that Silversea have been having with the Silver Cloud, we felt lucky to be onboard Le Lyrial. Of course the only downside of a trip like this is we want to go back - best start saving now! Thanks again for all of your help and support with the booking process. Ponant was exactly as you described it. We have our eye on a couple of other cruises with them so I might be in touch soon.
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.
We had the most fantastic time! Everything exceeded our expectations - the ship, the expedition team, the scenery and the most amazing wildlife experiences - 15 humpback whales around the ship one sunset was particularly stunning. Thank you so much to you and your colleagues for your expert advice (the cabin choice was just perfect, especially for the bumpy days!) and guidance and helping made this experience so great. My lifetime's ambition was to visit Antarctica and you all helped make that possible. I should also say that the arrangements in Buenos Aires worked really well too. I think we all have ideas about the next trip - Svalbard or the NorthWest Passage - but maybe in a couple of years, although we do each have $1500 in vouchers from Quark! I am not on Facebook myself but will try to put a review on either of the links below. I've received the new brochure already.
A great big thanks to all at Wildfoot Travel for making my Antarcti Expediton an epic adventure of immense proportions. Everything went smoothly, pickups, hotels and most of all the expedition itself. A truly mind blowing experience unlike any I have ever taken. Looking forward to the next trip with you.
Just came back from a trip aboard the Ortelius to the Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica. Thank you Wildfoot for organising it so well. We had the trip of a lifetime and everything ran very smoothly and stress free so many, many thanks
I travelled to the Antarctica Circle with Wildfoot. It was a memorable trip. The MS Expedition was definately the right choice. The ship is very nice, very comfortable, very clean, the crew is fantastic, the meals were very good, the expedition staff very kind and extremely knowledgeable and professional. All activities were very well and timely organized in a safety manner. Besides that, despite haveing had a rough sea on the Drake on way in, we were quite lucky with the weather (we got some cloudy days but also snow, bright sunshine and beautiful sunsets,) making every landing a wonderful happening. All in all, it was less than perfect.
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