Weddell Sea - In search of the Emperor Penguin incl. helicopters

Searching for the Elusive Emperor Penguins

Weddell Sea - In search of the Emperor Penguin incl. helicopters
Cruise route
Title: Weddell Sea - In search of the Emperor Penguin incl. helicopters
Dates:
Tripcode: OTL22A-17
Duration: 10 nights
Ship: m/v Ortelius
Embarkation: Ushuaia
Disembarkation: Ushuaia
Language: English speaking voyage
Summary: Download cruise info in PDF
More about: Antarctica cruises
Antarctic Peninsula cruises
South Shetland Islands cruises
Weddell Sea cruises
 
Itinerary

PLEASE NOTE: If ice-conditions are favorable and the route to Snow Hill Island is free of multi-year pack-ice, we will reschedule our voyage and offer ship-to-shore helicopter transfers to Snow Hill Island (as carried out successfully in 2013) at approx. 45 minutes walking distance from the emperor penguin Rookery. If we succeed, this will be a fascinating and a once-in-a lifetime experience. However, we made attempts to reach Snow Hill Island during our voyages in 2012 - 2015. We only succeeded in 2013 and 2015, therefore the chances to reach Snow Hill Island are around 50%. Weather and ice conditions dictate the success of this adventure. This itinerary is for guidance only! Programs may vary depending on local ice and weather conditions, the availability of landing sites and opportunities to see wildlife. The final itinerary will be determined by the Expedition Leader on board. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises. Average cruising speed for m/v Ortelius is 10,5 knots.

Day 1: In the afternoon we embark our vessel m/v Ortelius in Ushuaia

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.

Day 2 - 3: At sea, en-route to the Antarctic Peninsula where we cross the Antarctic Convergence

During these two days we will sail across the Drake Passage. When we cross the Antarctic Convergence, we arrive in the circum-Antarctic up welling zone. In this area we may meet Wandering Albatrosses, Grey-headed Albatrosses, Black-browed Albatrosses, Light-mantled Albatrosses, Cape Petrels, Southern Fulmars, Wilson’s Storm Petrels, Blue Petrels and Antarctic Petrels.

Day 4 - 7: The Weddell Sea! During these days we use the helicopters in our attempts to find individual Emperor Penguins.

A typical itinerary in the Weddell Sea could be as follows. This is a sample only, the final itinerary will be determined by the Expedition Leader on board.We will sail into the Weddell Sea and if the Antarctic Sound is accessible and the ice does not prevent us to sail further, we might see the huge tabular icebergs that 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 will also offer scenic flights and – if the conditions allow us – possible helicopter landings on tabular ice-bergs and locations otherwise inaccessible so early in the season. Possible landing sites is for example Brown Bluff, probably the most scenic spot in the entire northern tip of the Antarctic Continent. With steep canyon walls and tumbled boulders, an ice-cap looming above, beautiful volcanic creations and the scene is complete with thousands of Adélie penguins nesting on the slopes. A few Gentoo’s is mixed in for fun. Helicopter flights are a great contribution to the voyage, for example on the west side of the Antarctic Sound, an area usually only rarely seen from the air. The scenery is stunning with landscapes of layered sandstones, lava flows, glaciers tumbling into the sea and ice-bergs 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 down below us. The landscape is dominated by Jagged mountains pierced 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 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.If the ice-situation allows us to go further into the Weddell Sea area, we will visit Devil Island and Vega Island with 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’. Further south, we may also visit Seymour Island, where many fossils can be found. On our way north through the Antarctic Sound we might pay a visit to the Argentinean station Esperanza on the Antarctic Continent. We will still look out for Emperor Penguins on the ice-floes. In the afternoon we may visit Gourdin Island, with three penguin species; Chinstrap, Gentoo and Adélie.

Day 8: Early in the afternoon we will sail to Deception Island

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 will depart around noon when conditions on the Drake Passage (weather and sea-conditions) are predicted as unfavorable.

Day 9 - 10: At sea en-route to Ushuaia

In the Drake Passage we have again a chance of seeing many seabirds and to take advantage of the knowledge of our lecture team.

Day 11: The end of our voyage. We disembark m/v Ortelius in the maorning in Ushuaia

We arrive in the morning in Ushuaia and disembark.

Day 5 - 6: Alternative program if the route to Snow Hill Island is free of multi-year pack-ice (less than 50 % chance):

The use of helicopters has a great advantage and can support us in our goal to reach the Emperor Penguin colony, but the itinerary is ruled by the forces of nature, ice and weather conditions. If the conditions are favourable, we intend to spend the first two days in the Emperor Penguin rookery. The helicopter operation will take a full day and the flight duration takes approximately 15 minutes. The helicopter can accommodate 6 passengers per helicopter flight. The landing point of the helicopters will be carefully chosen and we will make sure that the Emperors Penguins are not disturbed or stressed by helicopter noise. Therefore, after arrival, the passengers continue their expedition on foot. After a walk of approx. 45 minutes, passengers will experience an amazing rendezvous with the magnificent Emperor Penguins. Keep in mind that we are in the world’s most remote area and there are no guarantees, including a specific amount of helicopter time. Conditions may change rapidly, having its impact on the helicopter operation and passengers should understand and accept this. Safety is our greatest concern and no compromises can be made.

m/v Ortelius

Fit for both ends of the planet, the ice-strengthened Ortelius is thoroughly outfitted to provide you an up-close experience of the Arctic and Antarctic. Full ship info >>

Cabins & Prices

Quadruple Porthole

Windows Windows Info Info
  • 2 portholes
  • 2 upper / lower berths
  • Private shower & toilet
  • Desk & chair
  • Flatscreen TV
  • Telephone
  • Hair dryer
  • Ample storage space
Info Info Info Info
Sharing berth
9250 USD

Share your cabin with others for the best price

11550 USD
Info Info Info Info
Complete cabin
37000 USD

Price for the complete cabin, fully occupied.

46200 USD

Triple Porthole

Windows Windows Info Info
  • 2 portholes
  • 1 upper / lower berth + 1 single lower berth
  • Private shower & toilet
  • Desk & chair
  • Flatscreen TV
  • Telephone
  • Hair dryer
  • Ample storage space
Info Info Info
Sharing berth
10250 USD

Share your cabin with others for the best price

12800 USD
Info Info Info
Complete cabin
30750 USD

Price for the complete cabin, fully occupied.

38400 USD

Twin Porthole deck 4

Windows Windows Info Info
  • 2 portholes
  • 2 lower berths
  • Private shower & toilet
  • Desk & chair
  • Flatscreen TV
  • Telephone
  • Hair dryer
  • Ample storage space
Info Info
Sharing berth
10850 USD

Share your cabin with others for the best price

13550 USD
Info
Single cabin
18445 USD

Price for the complete cabin occupied by 1 person (1.7x the shared rate).

23035 USD
Info Info
Complete cabin
21700 USD

Price for the complete cabin, fully occupied.

27100 USD

Twin Porthole deck 3

Windows Windows Info Info
  • 2 portholes
  • 2 lower berths
  • Private shower & toilet
  • Desk & chair
  • Flatscreen TV
  • Telephone
  • Hair dryer
  • Ample storage space
Info Info
Sharing berth
10850 USD

Share your cabin with others for the best price

13550 USD
Info
Single cabin
18445 USD

Price for the complete cabin occupied by 1 person (1.7x the shared rate).

23035 USD
Info Info
Complete cabin
21700 USD

Price for the complete cabin, fully occupied.

27100 USD

Twin Window

Windows Windows Info Info
  • 2 windows
  • 2 lower berths
  • Private shower & toilet
  • Desk & chair
  • Flatscreen TV
  • Telephone
  • Hair dryer
  • Ample storage space
Info Info
Sharing berth
11300 USD

Share your cabin with others for the best price

14150 USD
Info
Single cabin
19210 USD

Price for the complete cabin occupied by 1 person (1.7x the shared rate).

24055 USD
Info Info
Complete cabin
22600 USD

Price for the complete cabin, fully occupied.

28300 USD

Twin Deluxe

Windows Windows Windows Info Info
  • 3 windows
  • 2 lower berths
  • Private shower & toilet
  • Desk & chair
  • Small sofa
  • Refrigerator
  • Coffee & tea maker
  • Flatscreen TV, Telephone
  • Hair dryer
  • Ample storage space
Info Info
Sharing berth
11850 USD

Share your cabin with others for the best price

14800 USD
Info
Single cabin
20145 USD

Price for the complete cabin occupied by 1 person (1.7x the shared rate).

25160 USD
Info Info
Complete cabin
23700 USD

Price for the complete cabin, fully occupied.

29600 USD

Superior

Windows Windows Info
  • 2 windows (minimum)
  • 1 double bed
  • 1 single (sofa) bed
  • Private shower & toilet
  • Desk & chair
  • Flatscreen TV, Telephone
  • Refrigerator
  • Coffee & tea maker
  • Hair dryer
  • Ample storage space
Info
Single cabin
21250 USD

Price for the complete cabin occupied by 1 person (1.7x the shared rate).

26520 USD
Info Info
Complete cabin
25000 USD

Price for the complete cabin, fully occupied.

31200 USD