- Join this special voyage organised by Friends of SPRI to recognise their centenary
- Hosted by Julian and Evelyn Dowdeswell from SPRI
- An epic cruise including ship to shore helicopter transfers and expert naturalists
- Sail in comfort onboard the ice-strengthened Ortelius
Travel to one of the most remote places on Earth. The Ross Sea is synonymous with the history of polar exploration and has epic landscapes to match the endeavours of men like Scott and Shackleton. The Ross Ice Shelf is the largest of its kind in the world and the icebergs found in the Ross Sea are some of the most impressive seen anywhere in Antarctica.
The Ross Sea became the starting point for expeditions to the South Pole. Shackleton's hut at Cape Royds and Scott's hut at Cape Evans are poignant reminders of man’s futile attempts to tame the White Continent. East Antarctica and Commonwealth Bay are synonymous with the explorers Mawson and d’Urville. A reminder of the challenges they faced can be felt first-hand at Cape Dennison in Commonwealth Bay, which has the title of the windiest place on earth. This is Antarctica at its most raw.
Start your expedition in Bluff, New Zealand’s southernmost city, from where you will explore the sub-Antarctic Islands including Campbell, Macquarie and Balleny islands, before crossing the Antarctic circle and heading for Cape Adare. Continue to the magnificent Ross Ice Shelf, the largest ice shelf in the world, which is constantly changing with the receding ice masses. Large icebergs are present here, along with great opportunities to see wildlife. Then sail through the Amundsen Sea, moving along and through the outer fringes of the pack ice. Afterwards, sail across the Bellingshausen Sea, bound for the Antarctic Peninsula, before ending your voyage crossing the Drake Passage.
Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI)
Established in 1920 as part of the University of Cambridge, The Scott Polar Research Institute is a centre of excellence in the study of the Arctic and Antarctic. SPRI's mission is to enhance the understanding of the polar regions through scholarly research and publication, educating new generations of polar researchers, caring for and making accessible its collections (including its library, archival, photographic and object collections), and projecting the history and environmental significance of the polar regions to the wider community for public benefit.
This Ross Sea cruise is in partnership with the Friends of Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI) and will be accompanied by expert glaciologists, Julian and Evelyn Dowdeswell. The voyage coincides with the Centenary of the Institute. Julian is a glaciologist, Director of the Scott Polar Research Institute and Professor of Physical Geography in Cambridge University. Evelyn is a glacial geologist with a number of seasons of field experience in the Antarctic and Arctic. They have written both scientific papers and more popular works about Antarctica. Julian has recently authored ‘The Continent of Antarctica” with his colleague and friend Michael Hambrey. The book is designed as an authoritative yet accessible introduction to the science, history and contemporary significance of Antarctica. Evelyn has written children’s books on both Scott and Shackleton which are used widely in schools.
Your Ross Sea Expedition vessel
The Ortelius was built in Gdynia, Poland in 1989. She served as a special-purpose vessel for the Russian Academy of Science and has the highest ice-class notation (UL1, equivalent to 1A) possible for an ice-strengthened ship. Ortelius can accommodate up to 116-123 passengers, has an abundance of open-deck spaces and is perfectly suited to navigate the ice-heavy waters of the Ross Sea.
Why join this Ross Sea Cruise?
The Ross Sea and East Antarctica are the most remote and challenging regions of Antarctica to reach, with only a handful of expeditions each year. Follow in the wake of the early explorers, and visit the basecamps (huts) of Scott, Shackleton, Mertz and Mawson.
What wildlife can I expect to see during this Ross Sea Expedition cruise?
Dotted amongst the windswept waters of the Southern Ocean are a series of sub-Antarctic islands that harbour spectacular birdlife including several endemic species. The ships stop at a number of these on the journey from New Zealand. UNESCO World Heritage Macquarie Island rivals South Georgia for prolific wildlife and scenic diversity, home to 20,000 breeding pairs of royal penguins, along with king, gentoo and rockhopper penguins, elephant seals and various albatross species.
What WILL MY FELLOW PASSENGERS BE LIKE?
Passengers on a typical voyage are aged between 30 years old 80 years old, with most usually being between 45-65. This type of expedition attracts independent travellers from around the globe, characterised by a strong interest in exploring remote regions. We hope to attract at least 20 Friends of SPRI members to join this voyage so you should be sure of having something in common with your fellow explorers.
Do I need to be fit to join this expedition cruise to the Ross Sea?
You must be in good overall health and be able to walk several hours per day. The expedition is ship-based and physically not very demanding, but we spend as much time as possible on shore. You are, however, welcome to remain aboard the ship if you prefer. To join most excursions, you must be able to get up and down the steep gangway ― from the ship to the water level ― to board the Zodiacs. Staff will assist you in and out of the boats, and boarding will become progressively easier with practice, but conditions on shore can be slippery and rocky. Remember, you will be travelling in remote areas without access to sophisticated medical facilities, so you must not join this expedition if you have a life-threatening condition or need daily medical treatment.
For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.