Landmarks visited on Terra Incognita: Voyage to The Ross Sea & Bay of Whales
Day 1: Invercargill
Meet your fellow voyagers and expedition staff for an informal get-together over dinner at the hotel, where you will stay overnight.
Day 2: Port of Bluff
You'll transfer to the port where staff will welcome you on board the Akademik Shokalskiy and as you settle into your cabin, our adventure begins.
Day 3: The Snares - North East Island
North East Island is the largest of The Snares and staggeringly, this one island is claimed by some to be home to more nesting seabirds than all of the British Isles together. Zodiac cruising the rugged coastline you'll learn how the islands got their name and encounter Snares Crested Penguins, Cape Petrel and Buller's Albatross on the imposing cliffs. You are also likely to encounter Antarctic Terns, White-fronted Terns, Red-billed Gulls, Tomtits and Fernbirds.
Days 4 to 5: Auckland Islands
Characterised by towering cliffs and rugged sea stacks, these islands have borne witness to many a shipwreck in days gone by. You'll spend the day ashore on Enderby Island which is perhaps the most beautiful of all the Subantarctic Islands. Here you'll find parakeets flitting above carpets of red, white and yellow wild flowers and on the beaches beyond, the rare Hooker's or New Zealand Sea Lion. You'll land in Carnley Harbour and if conditions are suitable climb to a Shy Albatross colony, otherwise you can explore sites within the harbour.
Day 6: At Sea
Take the chance to learn more about the biology and history of these islands and the tempestuous Southern Ocean through informal lectures with our experts. This particular stretch of ocean is very productive and you can expect many seabirds, including five or six kinds of albatross and numerous species of petrel.
Days 7 to 8: Macquarie Island
This remote, rocky outpost which endures roaring westerly winds, supports one of the highest concentrations of wildlife in the Southern Hemisphere. Four species of penguin, King, Royal, Rockhopper and Gentoo breed here. You will never forget your first experience in a ceaselessly active 'penguin city', where the dapper inhabitants show no fear of their strange visitors. You will also meet with the Park Rangers, visit the Australian Antarctic Base and observe the hundreds of Southern Elephant Seals along the beaches.
Days 9 to 11: At Sea
Soaring albatross and petrels circle the vessel as you steam ever southward through the Southern Ocean. Lectures now concentrate on the Antarctic region and beyond the bow of the ship; drifting icebergs of extraordinary shapes begin to appear. Manoeuvring in close for your first ice photographs you pass the Antarctic Circle and into the continent's realm of 24-hour daylight. Relax in the ship's bar and catch up with some reading in the library. If you have brought your laptop with you there will be time to download and edit photos while they are fresh in your mind.
Days 12 to 21: Commonwealth Bay and beyond
Our first landing on the remote East Antarctic coastline will be Cape Denison, Commonwealth Bay. Notoriously known as the 'home of the blizzard'. Here you will see (and experience) Mawson's Hut and its environs which include other relics from the 1911-14 expedition and Adelie Penguins. West from Cape Denison is the French Research Base, Dumont D'Urville which, if permission is granted and ice conditions permit, you'll visit. There is also an Emperor Penguin colony nearby. Breeding season will be over but there could be birds around. Other landings could include Port Martin (abandoned French Base) and the McKellar Islands. You will also cruise in Zodiacs looking for wildlife.
East from Cape Denison you can follow the ice edge towards the Balleny Islands. It is a very productive area for cetaceans; large numbers of Humpbacks have been recorded here. The Balleny Islands were discovered in 1839, by a sealing Captain in the employment of the Enderby Brothers. Because of their location, remote and isolated, they are rarely visited. The islands are rugged and landing sites are rare, but if conditions are right you will be able to Zodiac cruise Sabrina Island where there is a small colony of Chinstrap Penguins. This is also one of the few places where Greater Snow Petrels breed. Further south is Cape Adare, arguably one of the most historic sites in all of Antarctica. It was here in 1895 that one of the first landings on the Antarctic continent was made and in 1899 the first party to winter over in Antarctica built their hut here.
Other potential sites in the Northern Ross Sea that you could land if ice and weather conditions permit include the Possession Islands. These were named by Sir James Clark Ross in 1842 after he had landed on them and claimed the region in the name of Queen Victoria. A little further south is Cape Hallett, it was the site of a joint American New Zealand base from 1958-1973 when it was abandoned. It was demolished in the 1990s and now the Adelie Penguins are reclaiming the site which was rightfully theirs anyway. From Cape Hallett you can get amazing views of the northern transantarctic mountains.
Days 22 to 25: At Sea
Taking time to rest and enjoy shipboard life in the bar or library after the excitement and long daylight hours of the Antarctic, you have time for lectures on our final destination and for some pelagic bird spotting.
Days 26 to 27: Campbell Island - Perseverance Harbour
You'll drop anchor in Perseverance Harbour, an occasional refuge for Southern Right Whales who come here to calve. Walk to the nesting site of the Southern Royal Albatross and see the strange and beautiful megaherbs growing on the hills. These huge wild flowers that have adapted to the harsh conditions have unusual colourings and weirdly-shaped leaves. You'll also seek out other wildlife such as Campbell Island Shags, Light-mantled Sooty Albatross and sea lions.
Days 28 to 29: At Sea
At sea en route to the Port of Lyttelton, take the opportunity to relax and enjoy our last few days of shipboard life and to reflect on an amazing experience. On your last evening you will review and celebrate our discoveries over a farewell dinner.
Day 30: Christchurch
You'll arrive at the Port of Lyttelton early in the morning. After breakfast, customs formalities and a last minute opportunity to bid farewell to your expedition team, you disembark and board our complimentary coach transfer to a central city drop off or Christchurch Airport.
About The Ship
- The smallest Antarctic ship, only 50 guests
- A former Russian research vessel
- Operates in the remote Ross Sea
- KM (Russian) Ice Class rating
- Only zodiac landings & excursions
- Rubber boots are provided on loan
This plucky little ship has an outstanding record of safely navigating Antarctica’s most remote corners.
Alex Mudd Polar Specialist
Prices, Departures and Inclusions
Prices quoted below are per person based on 2 people sharing. Cabin availability changes all the time so please contact us for up-to-date details and information on specific cabin availability.
This trip can run as a group trip, with prices starting from $23,500 per person for a complete group. If you are looking to join a group or you are a solo traveller we will help to form likeminded groups of travellers. Please let us know your travel plans.
The trip can also run on a private basis to fit around your plans. Departures may be tailored and can be set up on a date of your choice. Please note that there is a higher price for smaller groups. Please enquire for further details.
Single Supplement And Child Policy
For those travelling solo and want their own cabin, the single supplement is 1.7 to 2 times the cost of a single berth, please contact us for details. However, there is no single supplement for passengers willing to share a cabin.
This expedition is designed for adults but may be suitable for mature teenagers. There is no onboard children programme and children are at the responsibility of their guardian. Please contact us for details.
- Pre and post voyage transfers
- 1 night hotel stay with breakfast
- Voyage aboard the vessel as indicated in the itinerary
- Accommodation & meals during the voyage on full board
- All shore excursions and zodiac activities
- Educational lectures by expert onboard polar guides
- Access to an onboard doctor and basic medical services
- Loan of rubber boots for the voyage's duration
- Comprehensive pre-departure information
- Port taxes & any entry fees to landing sites
- Parka jacket not provided
- Landing fees of $880 USD
- Flights to and from points of embarkation/disembarkation
- Any additional pre/post land services, including meals
- Transfers not specified in the itinerary
- Visa, passport and any vaccination expenses
- Airport arrival or departure taxes
- Personal Travel insurance
- Items of a personal nature - laundry, beverages, etc
- Customary staff gratuity at the end of the voyage
- Additional onboard purchases (i.e. gift shop)