these voyages, we transfer our passengers to shore using Zodiacs and
operate helicopters in areas where Zodiacs cannot be used. If
conditions allow for helicopter transfers, we will attempt landings on
both land and sea ice.
plan is to make helicopter landings when possible, though we cannot
guarantee a specific amount of helicopter time in advance. Helicopters
provide a great advantage in reaching certain landing sites that are
otherwise almost inaccessible, but local conditions (weather, ice, and
other forces of nature) determine the final itinerary. These conditions
may change rapidly, impacting our ability to use helicopters. Please
understand and accept this. Safety is our greatest concern, and no
compromises can be made.
vessel is equipped with three helicopters. One helicopter always needs
to be supported by a second functioning helicopter. No guarantees can
be given, and in no event will claims be accepted.
Weddell Sea Explorer:
in South Georgia after leaving Ushuaia, we will be on the trail of
famed polar explorer Ernest Shackleton and his ship Endurance,
experiencing the Weddell Sea’s amazing wildlife and tabular
icebergs before returning via Elephant Island.
continental borders of the Weddell Sea are formed by huge floating
sheets of ice. These ice shelves produce the massive tabular icebergs
that are so abundant in the Weddell Sea. Scientists have declared the
waters of the Weddell Sea to be the clearest water of any sea on Earth.
tabular icebergs and other ice formations offer fantastic landscapes
and unique photo opportunities. Especially on the east side of the
Weddell, the chance of landings can be limited due to these ice
formations. Zodiac cruises and possible ice landings are wonderful
alternatives, if conditions allow.
Weddell Sea is home to a large number of orcas, humpbacks, and minke
whales as well as leopard, Weddell, and crabeater seals. Several
penguin species can be seen there too.
the ship, our structured educational program will complement other
activities. You will have the opportunity to attend several lectures on
a variety of topics, such as wildlife, landscape, history, and
DATES / RATES
Rates are listed per person
|Start Date||End Date||From EUR||From USD|
|Feb 11, 2025||Mar 10, 2025||22,450
Rates are listed per person
|Start Date||End Date||From EUR||From USD|
|Feb 11, 2025||Mar 10, 2025||22,450
1-3: End of the world, start of a journey
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.
to South Georgia, you now cross the Antarctic Convergence. The
temperature cools considerably within the space of a few hours, and
nutritious water rises to the surface of the sea due to colliding water
columns. This phenomenon attracts a multitude of seabirds near the
ship, including several species of albatross, shearwaters, petrels,
prions, and skuas.
4 – 6: South Georgia journey
the South Georgia Maritime Zone, one of the largest protected waters in
the world, we sail past the Shag Rocks. These impressive rocks lay
240km (150 miles) west of South Georgia and are home to several
thousand South Georgia shags. The area around the rocks is known for
its abundance of larger marine mammals, which feed on this
comparatively shallow area of the South Georgia Ridge.
reaching South Georgia, you will have the chance to visit some of the
Island – This location is closed during the early part of the
wandering albatross breeding season (November 20 – January
7). From January on, the breeding adults have found their partners and
are sitting on eggs or nursing their chicks. Enjoy witnessing the
gentle nature of these animals, which possess the largest wingspan of
any birds in the world.
Bay – A beautiful outwash plain from Fortuna Glacier is home
to a large number of king penguins and seals. Here you may also have
the chance to follow the final leg of Shackleton’s route to
the abandoned whaling village of Stromness. This path cuts across the
mountain pass beyond Shackleton’s Waterfall, and as the
terrain is partly swampy, be prepared to cross a few small streams.
Plain, St. Andrews Bay, Gold Harbour – These sites not only
house the three largest king penguin colonies in South Georgia,
they’re also three of the world’s largest breeding
beaches for Antarctic fur seals. Literarily millions breed on South
Georgia during December and January. By February the young fur seals
are curious and playful and fill the surf with life and fun and large
elephant seals come to the beaches to moult.
– In this abandoned whaling station, king penguins walk the
streets and elephant seals lie around like they own the place
– because they basically do. Here you might be able to see
the South Georgia Museum as well as Shackleton’s grave.
the afternoon of day 6 and depending on the conditions, we will start
sailing southwards in the direction of the South Sandwich Islands.
7-8: Sea Days
Shackleton in December 1914 on the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition,
also known as the Endurance Expedition, we leave South Georgia and aim
for the South Sandwich Islands and the Weddell Sea.
may be sea ice on this route, and at the edge of the ice some south
polar skuas and snow petrels could join the other seabirds trailing the
9: South Sandwich Islands
we are unable to land here, we may be able to make a Zodiac cruise
among the amazing scenery of this active volcanic area. Passing between
Thule and Cook Islands will be one of the trip’s many
highlights and will make an everlasting impression.
is a good chance we’ll encounter humpback and minke whales in
this area. On and around the islands, we also have the chance to spot
brown skuas, chinstrap or Adélie penguins, and several
species of albatross: grey-headed, black-browed, and wandering.
10-12: Southward bound
next sail toward the Antarctic continent in the direction of Queen Maud
Land and Neuschwabenland (New Swabia) on the northeast side of the
13-14: Neuschwabenland / New Swabia
first destination in Antarctica is New Swabia, between 20°E and
10°W in Queen Maud Land. This area was explored by Germany
during the third German Antarctic Expedition of 1938 – 1939,
led by Alfred Ritscher. The purpose was to find an area in Antarctica
for a German whaling station and scout a possible location for a naval
an attempt to claim the region, Nazi flags were placed on the sea ice
along the coast locations. Survey flights also airdropped aluminum
arrows with swastikas.
15-23: Deep inside the Weddell Sea - Filchner, Ronne and Larsen Ice
deep into the Weddell Sea, chances are we can spot crabeater, leopard,
or Weddell seals. If we are lucky, we might even see emperor penguins.
Humpback, orca, and minke whales are also present in this area, along
with various birdlife.
conditions in the Weddell Sea vary seasonally. We will encounter a vast
nautical wilderness of sea, and while heading to high latitudes (far
south) will enjoy the raw beauty and power that makes Antarctica so
special. It will become apparent why it took so long to discover the
Great White Continent and how tough it must have been for
make a circular route toward the Brunt Ice Shelf and along the Luitpold
Coast, discovered and named during the second German Antarctic
expedition (1911 – 1912) of Wilhelm Filchner. If conditions
allow, we will have opportunities for a Zodiac cruise and possibly an
ice floe landing.
now head west toward the Filchner–Ronne Ice Shelf before
changing course north, following the coast along the eastern side of
the Antarctic Peninsula and Larsen Ice Shelf. This brings us close to
the spot where Shackleton’s vessel Endurance was trapped in
pack ice during his Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition (1914-17),
drifting toward the Antarctic Peninsula before ultimately sinking. In
an exciting conclusion to this story, the wreck was discovered on March
5, 2022, the 100th anniversary of Shackleton’s burial, after
107 years below the Weddell Sea waves. While we can’t get
close to the discovery site due to pack ice, we will be in the area
where the ship was trapped and abandoned. There are colonies of 6,500
emperor penguins nearby, so we hope to see one or more in this area.
we reach the northern section of the Antarctic Peninsula, we enter the
area of Erebus and Terror Gulf. Far-wandering emperor penguins often
perch on Snow Hill Island’s numerous ice floes, possibly
offering you another opportunity to spot these emblematic creatures. If
conditions allow, we may attempt a landing on James Ross Island.
24: Brown Bluff and Kinnes Cove
morning we hope to land at one of the most scenic locations in the
northern Antarctic Continent, with a large Adélie penguin
rookery, gentoo penguins, and nesting snow petrels also to be found.
Sheer canyon walls, fallen boulders, and beautiful volcanic creations
capped with ice make Brown Bluff a truly unforgettable location.
the Antarctic Sound is Kinnes Cove, where you can see the nearby Madder
Cliffs with their subtle red coloration as well as possible gentoo
25: Legendary Elephant Island
is the starting point from which Shackleton left to find help for his
stranded crew. Using only a small lifeboat, the James Caird, he and
five of his men sailed to South Georgia, then walked 36 hours to
Stromness. It’s hard not to marvel at how they accomplished
that herculean feat.
members of his Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, also known as the
Endurance Expedition, were stranded on Elephant Island after their
vessel Endurance sank in the Weddell Sea. It took four and a half
months to complete the legendary rescue.
on Elephant Island are severe. The coastline is mostly made up of
vertical rock and ice cliffs highly exposed to the elements. If
possible, you will take the Zodiacs to Point Wild, where the marooned
members of Shackleton’s expedition miraculously managed to
26 – 27: Familiar seas, familiar friends
return voyage is far from lonely. While crossing the Drake, you might
see some of the same wildlife encountered at the start of your voyage:
albatrosses, petrels, maybe even a minke whale spouting up sea spray.
28: There and back again
adventure, no matter how grand, must eventually come to an end.
It’s now time to disembark in Ushuaia, but with memories that
will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies.
Ortelius (Expedition, 108-guests)
Ortelius offers a comfortable hotel standard, with a u-shaped, a bar and a lecture room. Our voyages are primarily developed to offer our passengers a quality exploratory wildlife program, trying to spend as much time ashore as possible. As the number of passengers is limited to approximately 116 on the Ortelius, flexibility assures maximum wildlife opportunities. Ortelius carries 10 zodiacs
(Click image to view Ship details)
from this voyage
aboard the indicated vessel as indicated in the itinerary
meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee
shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac.
of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced
use of rubber boots and snowshoes.
transfer from pick-up point to the vessel on the day of embarkation, in
group transfer from the vessel to the airport in Ushuaia (directly
miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the programme.
airfare, whether on scheduled or charter flights
and post- land arrangements.
and visa expenses.
arrival and departure taxes.
cancellation and personal insurance (which is strongly recommended).
baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as laundry,
bar, beverage charges and telecommunication charges.
customary gratuity at the end of the voyages for stewards and other
service personnel aboard (guidelines will be provided).
- Helicopter Tours
- Zodiac Cruising & Shore Programs
- Shore-Based Walking