• Home
  • Triplogs
  • HDS30-24, trip log, Antarctica - Beyond the Polar Circle - Wilkins Ice Shelf

HDS30-24, trip log, Antarctica - Beyond the Polar Circle - Wilkins Ice Shelf

by Oceanwide Expeditions


Day 1: Embarkation – Ushuaia, Argentina

Embarkation – Ushuaia, Argentina
Datum: 13.03.2024
Positie: 54° 48.63 ’S / 068° 17.9’W
Wind: NNW 3
Weer: Partly cloudy
Luchttemperatuur: +9

It’s time to head SOUTH! Deep south. After at least a day full of travelling for most of us, or a rest day and exploring Ushuaia, we embarked on our new home for the coming weeks – Hondius!

But first things first. As we went up the gangway and met our trip companions, staff and crew it was almost time to wave goodbye to Ushuaia. A bit of ship orientantion, luggage alocation and first drinks at the bar we were almost ready to go out through the Beagle Channel.

But first things first. And safety always comes first on an expedition. It is crucial to know what to do in an emergency situation, and seeing everyone in their orange life jackets (Netherlands’ national color) was an interesting view as well!

Pippa introduced herself as our Expedition Leader. She explained what to expect in our voyage, from daily recaps and briefings and what an expedition cruise actually is. She explained to us how weather might influence trips like this one, and that wind is crucial for safety.

The Captain, Remmert-Jan Koster, came down from the bridge to introduce himself and commance the journey. With a glass of champagne or a non-alcoholic equivalent we raised our glasses to a succesful trip.

After the explanation of the new plans and some snacks, our Expedition Staff introduced themselves. With a lot of different nationalities and different specialities, the team is for sure very varied.

As we finally pushed off the dock we were a little distracted with a double rainbow that showed up as a sign this journey will for sure be one to remember!

Day 2: At Sea - Drake Passage

At Sea - Drake Passage
Datum: 14.03.2024
Positie: 57° 24.9 ’S / 065° 37.8’W
Wind: W 4
Weer: Partly cloudy
Luchttemperatuur: +5

As we sailed across the Drake Passage, notorious for its tumultuous waters, we were greeted by an unexpected calmness. The waves were gentle, measuring no more than 2 meters in height. Among them were the black-browed albatrosses and the majestic southern royal albatross, with wingspans spanning up to 3.5 meters!

In the morning, Martin delivered an engaging lecture on the diverse birdlife of the Drake Passage, helping us discern between prions, petrels, and albatrosses. Equipped with this knowledge, we now appreciate the diversity of bird species surrounding us.

Following Martin's lecture, it was time to retrieve our muck boots from the ship's door, essential equipment for our upcoming land excursions.

In the afternoon, Sasha provided an informative overview of Antarctica's geography with his lecture, while Marijke talked about whale identification, sharing fascinating insights into the various species inhabiting these frigid waters.

As the day ended, we gathered in the lounge for our first recap. Pippa briefed us on tomorrow's plan and weather before providing an explanation of the Antarctic Convergence. Following her, Pelin discussed superstitions at sea, and Rose provided insights into the geographical names of the Antarctic Peninsula.

Day 3: At Sea - Drake Passage

At Sea - Drake Passage
Datum: 15.03.2024
Positie: 62° 02.2 ’S / 064° 00.8’W
Wind: NNE 2
Weer: Calm
Luchttemperatuur: 0

Our second day at sea! Luckly for us, the sea was still relatively quiet. Our day started with the mandatory zodiac and IAATO briefing from our Expedition leader Pippa. She told us all about the proper outer gear, Afterwards, Andrew gave a lecture about albatrosses.

Everybody was intrigued by these giants that spend almost all of their lives on sea. We were lucky enough to see a few black browed albatrosses today, just like some other bird’s species, like the grey-headed albatrosses, the southern fulmars and even some chinstraps porpoising!

Just after the lecture, it started snowing outside. We had quite a few blows in the morning, fin whales and southern bottlenose whales, and this continued just after Andrew finished the questions, with a pair of fin whales alongside the side.

After a lovely lunch, we had the biosecurity. This meant checking and cleaning very thoroughly all the items and outerwear which would come into contact with the ground ashore. All seeds and loose material were removed with our hoovers and our very loyal paperclips, which are incredible multipurpose tools!

Again, we were surprised by some whale blows of fin whales and even our first icebergs sightings! Seeing the first icebergs, and even a fur seal which popped up out of the water, we were definitely coming closer to Antarctica.

At 16:30, our onboard historian Pelin told us more about the Gerlache and Belgica Expedition. These expeditions began the era known as the heroic age of Antarctic Exploration.

During recap, Pippa told us more about tomorrow, which would be our first day and landing in Antarctica! Annelou talked a bit about the geology of the Drake Passage, and what is happening under the water. Marijke showed us some of her pictures of the fin whales that we saw today, and Ursula shared insights about surfacing behaviour and how these big mammals breathe.

Day 4: At Sea and Fish Islands and Prospect Point

At Sea and Fish Islands and Prospect Point
Datum: 16.03.2024
Positie: 54° 51.8 ’S / 068° 01.9’W
Wind: SE 6
Weer: Partly cloudy
Luchttemperatuur: +8

After two days sailing through the Drake Passage, which was neither a lake nor a shake but rather a journey through gentle waves, we reached Antarctica. We spent most of the early morning hours standing on deck or at the windows to take in our first sight of the white continent.

At very slow speed the officers attentively navigated the Hondius through a narrow passage within uncharted waters passing majestic icebergs of various shapes, sizes, and colours. Their beauty was taking our breath away. In between we listened to Annelou connecting Antarctica with Mars followed by Georgina introducing us to the various penguin species living on the Antarctic Peninsula.

After lunch life on the ship got busy. Dressed in red jackets, lifejackets, hats and gloves, the guides headed downstairs to launch and prepare the boats for our very first zodiac cruise. Then the long-awaited call sounded over the speaker system: “Dear guests. Please make your way to the shell door on deck 3.” Although stepping into the zodiac was very easy as the water was as calm as a mirror, we all followed the routine taught the day before: Both hands free, sailors grip, 1, 2, 3 steps and immediate sitting. Each driver also took the time to explain all relevant safety aspects. If there had been any nervousness among us at all it disappeared quickly as we slowly drove into the most amazing landscape, we had ever seen.

And then our exploration around the Fish Islands consisting of several small rocky islands named after fish like Salmon, Mackerel, Trout. About 4000 pairs of Adelie penguins breed here during the summer months. Many of which we had the pleasure to watch quite up close.

Ice was omnipresent with artistically sculptured icebergs of various sizes, floating growlers, and transparent ice of very old age. Alert we all looked out for wildlife either on land and ice or in the air and water.

Soon we discovered our first marine mammal. The deeply sleeping Leopard seal did not show any reaction at all to our approach. The Weddell seal near-by however lifted its head following us with its dark big eyes.

Throughout the cruise each and every one of us built up a different personal story of observations, emotions, and excitement. The latter increased dramatically when an Antarctic minke whale curiously approached a zodiac, passing alongside and underneath to take a closer look at this floating object. The interaction lasted so that other boats could enjoy the close encounter with this rather elusive but absolutely beautiful whale species.

Then it was time to head over to Prospect Point where Pippa and Annalou awaited us at the beach. On higher ground we could make out a dozen pillars made of concrete, the last remains of Base J from the British Antarctic Survey. The building was only occupied from 1957 – 59 and removed in 2004. Close by some scientific equipment indicated that studies are still carried out with modern and remote instruments.

Excited we swung our legs, feet towards the water, over the pontoon to touch Antarctica for the very first time and to walk on beautiful rocks of past geological times. Our geologist Annelou’s face expressed beautifully how happy she was to be here. Many times, the Antarctic flag was raised and photographed to capture this unique moment.

Eventually all zodiacs headed back to the ship. On time for a short break before Pippa presented tomorrow’s plan followed by several informative recaps and another and nutritious and tasty diner.

Our first day in Antarctica surely was memorable triggering our urge for more.


Our first time kayaking in Antarctica! We have spotted some Adelie penguins on ice. We saw a leopard seal on the iceberg, sleeping peacefully. Then two leopard seals showed up and got curious about kayakers and started playing around.

We got back to the zodiacs and enjoyed watching them messing around, capsizing kayaks from the comfort of our zodiac. Paddled around the Southern coast of Perch Island and to Prospect Point.

Day 5: Detaille Island and the Gullet

Detaille Island and the Gullet
Datum: 17.03.2024
Positie: 66° 51.6 ’S / 066° 48.1’W
Wind: NE 3
Weer: Overcast
Luchttemperatuur: -1

At 4:00 AM during the night we crossed the Polar Circle! As this was in the middle of the night, no call was made, but some enthusiasts were up anyway to witness this moment, although it was very dark outside. For us who went up later, the day started with snow and a bit of fog, not full visibility but certainly Antarctic weather.

Our morning started at 8:00, as we headed off to Detaille Island. Today was a split landing split cruise, which meant we swapped halfway onshore. Detaille Island is known for its historic site, namely Base W. Base W was established in 1957 and only operational for 3 years, and at the third year they had to evacuate the station personal on very short notice before the ice came in. Pelin, our historian, told us more while were having a look inside the hut. 8-10 people lived here at the time, and the hut was established for meteorological, geographical, and geological surveys. Everything looked quite intact still! Most of the paperwork, geological maps, books, and newspapers were still around. The canned food and clothes appeared untouched, which showed the hurry they were in when they left.

Continuing after the hut, we went up the hill for a small hike. Near the hut the dogs were kept in a smaller hut. From the ridge, we could see the Hondius barely because of the snow, although there was no wind. We had a beautiful lookout to several big icebergs which were stranded near the island. Up to the end, a lot of Adelie penguins could be seen.

For the zodiac cruise, most of us circumnavigated the island. Several fur seals and even more Adelie penguins were seen! The water was flat calm, very nice conditions to see the wildlife in.

During the afternoon, we ships cruised to the stunning channel that is known as the Gullet. We had to be there before it got dark, as daylight is needed to navigate this small channel. It lies between the southern edge of Hansen Island and Adelaide Island and is known for its dramatic scenery. Unfortunately, it was quite foggy.

Here, we enjoyed the ‘Crossing the Polar Circle’ ceremony out on the bow, which included kissing the fish and getting a stamp. Not only that, but on this snowy day there was some hot chocolate (with rum!) available as well.

Some of us grabbed this chance to get a picture of the unique frame. As most people gathered outside, a small party started, which ended with a group dance.

As if this wasn’t enough for today, Marijke spotted a group of orcas at the end of the Gullet! There were two humpbacks with them as well, and there was quite some activity along them.

There were around 5 killer whales and most of us went outside with our binoculars to get a chance to see these amazing marine mammals! Recap was delayed because of this, and we all gathered at 8:15 to hear the plans for tomorrow.

As visibility was almost fully clear again, the lights were beautiful outside and we had a chance to see Rothera base, the base were which Adam could call home for several years. It was fantastic to end the day again with a beautiful sunset.


We have circumnavigated the Detaille Island! We have enjoyed the company of many Adelie penguins in the water and on the shore.

We have spotted crabeater seals and Weddell seals.

Day 6: Stonington Island and Red Rock Ridge

Stonington Island and Red Rock Ridge
Datum: 18.03.2024
Positie: 68° 10.95 ’S / 067° 01.2’W
Wind: NNE 1
Weer: Cloudy
Luchttemperatuur: +1

Today was yet another fantastic day onboard MV Hondius. We arrived in the early morning at Stonington Island for our first activity of the day, a zodiac cruise and landing. The island is named after Stonington, Connecticut, the home port for the sloop Hero, in which Captain Nathaniel Palmer sighted the Antarctic continent in 1820. The island is in the Eastern part of Marguerite Bay, to the northeast of Neny Island and off the West coast of Graham Land.

Towering overhead are the 800-meter peaks of the Roman Four Promontory mountains beautifully intertwined with glaciers, specifically Northeast glacier that would provide numerous calvings and thundering booms echoing across the bay throughout our time there.

The morning greeted us with a breath-taking sunrise that looked like a watercolour painting. A swirl of warm red and orange colours plastered the sky in a welcoming way. The ship was surrounded by pieces of ice, big and small, providing the perfect foreground and background for some amazing photography.

The zodiac cruise zigged and zagged through the ice finding different species of seals and Adelie penguins on the rocky outcroppings. While some guests were in zodiacs, others were on land exploring Stonington Island and the historic buildings. This island houses both British and American historic buildings from the 1930s and 1940s and now are managed by the United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust since 2014. Back in the day, the buildings were home of the Ronne Antarctic Research Expedition and British scientistic research such as geology, meteorology, and biology.

Stonington Island offers breath taking views and a wonderful chance to get ashore and envision what it would be like to overwinter in Antarctica. However, it also means much more than that! Stonington Island is the location where Edith ‘Jackie’ Ronne overwintered in 1947-1948, making her the first woman to overwinter in Antarctica. She was the wife of Finn Ronne who worked at the base and the Ronne Ice Shelf is named in honour of her.

Next on the agenda for the afternoon was a zodiac cruise at the stunning site, Red Rock Ridge. This location is a large promontory formed between Rymill Bay and Neny Fjord in Marguerite Bay with towering cliffs ranging from 50-200 million years old. This cruise features three different species of pinnipeds: fur seals, Weddel seals and crabeater seals.

However, potentially the most exciting part of the cruise was the Adelie penguins.

Having no better way to explain what we encountered, our zodiacs found themselves in the middle of a penguin party!

A few hundred penguins lied the rocky outcroppings going about their daily business and another impressive number were swimming in the water.

They were extremely curious about our zodiacs and playing what felt like “King of the Hill” on the nearby pieces of ice. We could have stayed for hours but unfortunately, it was time to head back to the ship so we could continue our journey south to our next destination!


We have paddled from the west side of Stonington Island to the East along the South coast of the island.

Beautiful glacier views. Adelie penguins swimming next to our kayaks or sometimes watching us from ashore, crabeater seals popped up curiously occasionally, a Weddell seal was watching us secretly in the water.

We enjoyed witnessing a big glacial calving creating huge waves from a safe distance. We also watched a peaceful leopard seal having a siesta and another one doing a big jump onto an iceberg.

In the afternoon we have paddled around Bar Island and then to the Red Rock headland.

We were surrounded by numerous Adelie penguins swimming all around our kayaks curiously.

We watched sleepy Weddell seals, bluff fighting fur seals as we paddled around some turquoise colour icebergs.

Day 7: Lazarev Bay

Lazarev Bay
Datum: 19.03.2024
Positie: 69° 25.0 ’S / 072° 15.5’W
Wind: S 1
Weer: Overcast
Luchttemperatuur: -3

"Into the unknown!" – That was our motto since yesterday evening. Never before had any Oceanwide Expeditions vessel ventured so far south. And it was just the beginning of our journey through uncharted waters towards the Wilkins Ice Shelf.

The morning proved exceptionally calm, even more so than the day before. A smooth, mirror-like surface of water and hundreds, if not thousands, of icebergs – such was the backdrop through which the Hondius advanced into Lazarev Bay. Incidentally, the bay was named after Mikhail Lazarev, the great Russian navigator, who along with Faddey Bellingshausen in the distant year of 1820 became the first in history to set eyes on the shores of the mysterious white continent – Antarctica.

Operating in expedition mode, we had only a rough plan for today. In the morning, Georgina was supposed to give us a lecture on the intricacies of wildlife photography, but just as the projector and microphone were turned on, and we gathered in the observation lounge to listen to her speeches, suddenly through the speakers came the voice of Pippa, our expedition leader, delivering wonderful news – we had managed to spot an Emperor penguin!

We rushed out onto the open decks and pressed ourselves against the windows to catch a glimpse of this rare bird. However, the sight that met our eyes was rather tragicomic. Indeed, there sat the emperor penguin on the iceberg, there was no doubt about it. The unfortunate creature, facing away from us, awkwardly clung to the nearly vertical ice wall and was afraid to move, lest it slip into the water.

At first, we were surprised by the penguin's behavior, but soon the explanation became evident as a massive leopard seal appeared before us, circling the iceberg, and repeatedly attempting to leap out of the water to grab the penguin with its teeth. Clicking its jaws and terrifying the already frightened penguin even more, the leopard seal persisted, making new attempts to attack.

The Hondius paused for a moment, then resumed its course, and we left the penguin alone to face its fate. One can only hope that the vile reptile-looking predator left empty-handed.

Georgina never managed to start her lecture because as we continued, we spotted more and more Emperor penguins, either in the water or on icebergs. Cheers erupted, shutters clicked, and our binocular-equipped eyes eagerly followed these majestic creatures.

After lunch, it was decided to take advantage of the wonderful opportunity for a Zodiac cruise. The boats were lowered into the water, and we, settling into them, set off to explore Lazarev Bay.

Navigating around immense icebergs and occasionally pushing through brash ice, we admired the whimsical forms of ice and the numerous seals dozing on the ice floes. Some of the pinnipeds showed mutual interest and raised their heads, trying to get a better look at us. Mostly they were Crabeater seals, but among them, Weddell and leopard seals were also spotted.

One could endlessly traverse the cold waters, journeying through this magnificent iceberg garden, but after 2.5 hours, despite the absence of wind, we began to feel slightly chilled, so returning to the ship became a rather welcomed event.

The daily recap and dinner were not far behind, and soon the night descended so deeply that it was no longer possible to distinguish the icebergs, the ocean, or anything else. By this time, the Hondius had already left Lazarev Bay and was heading further south.


We have paddled along the Northeast shores of Rothschild Island. We paddled along the building size icebergs, all in different shades and blues. We have spotted tens of crabeaters seals on icebergs and four Weddell seals sleeping on the ice. Some of us also spotted emperor penguin twice in the water.

Day 8: Around Lataday Island

Around Lataday Island
Datum: 20.03.2024
Positie: 70° 47.2 ’S / 077° 05.5’W
Wind: W 3
Weer: Cloudy
Luchttemperatuur: -3

We awake to the sound Hondius passing through ice. Heading to the nearest window we can see we are surrounded by a beautiful concentration of sea ice, interspersed by massive icebergs. We are still heading south and as we slow down; we can appreciate this unique landscape.

Sea ice with its topping of fresh snow gives us a real feel for Antarctica, we are now on a real adventure, a real expedition. The ice here is king this landscape stretches as far as we can see.

The morning gives us an insight into Photography and how to get the best out of your camera with Georgina. We are then given a witty and informative lecture about the incredible world of plankton and an understanding of our keystone species Krill by Chloe.

The morning was interrupted by calls of majestic Emperor penguins resting on the sea ice as we slowly pass. Snow petrels continue to follow the ship, these beautiful birds keeping us company as we creep ever more south.

Crabeater seals lazily hang around on the ice, sometimes in groups they play around the ice edge, viewing them from the ship we can see them swimming gracefully just under the surface of the water, the juxtaposition of the way they move on land becomes apparent as watch them go by.

Once again, we are left with Ice, today is punctuated with this view, ice, ice, and more ice. It is spectacular to see, amazing to be a part of this environment, far away from any other humans, in a hostile yet beautiful wilderness, cocooned safely aboard the Hondius.

After a hearty Lunch, the ever-changing vista a backdrop for us eating, we round the island of Lataday. The ice fades away behind us and we press on into clear waters, icebergs sit in spender in the distance, the white and blue luminous upon the grey backdrop.

The horn sounds as the ship roles over the 71st degree of Latitude to applause and excitement, we press on towards our destination.

Ursula educates us on the seals we have seen over the course of the trip, so to best understand what it is we are seeing in this precious environment.

Adam then tells us what it is like living in Antarctica throughout the year, from 24 hours of daylight to 24 hours of night.

At 71degrees 19minutes we start to turn to the northeast into the bay around the south of Lataday, towards our goal of the Wilkins Ice shelf. The light is spectacular, and the ice continues to be the main event of the day.

We brave the cold and head out onto the deck for an Antarctic BBQ, with the music turned up and the party in full swing we spot a group of 10 Emperor penguins. The music stops, the ship slows down, and we welcome this calm to view these wonderful birds.

The party continues indoors as the ship heads further towards the Wilkins ice shelf.

Day 9: Wilkins Ice Shelf

Wilkins Ice Shelf
Datum: 21.03.2024
Positie: 71° 02.5 ’S / 073° 35.9’W
Wind: E 4
Weer: Overcast
Luchttemperatuur: -6

We woke this morning to another fact-filled wakeup call from Pippa along with the most spectacular sunrise over Alexander Island.

The skies were dark when we woke with the first chink of orange on the horizon. For some of us it was accompanied by ten or so Crabeater Seals swimming next to the ship, no doubt curious as to what this strange swimming beast called Hondius was in their home.

As time went by the sky turned beautiful colours of mauve, red and orange. The bright sunlight bouncing off The Wilkins Ice shelf onto the underside of the light cloud cover. We were also graced with the presence of a few Snow Petrels, these snow-white birds with contrasting jet-black eye, bill and legs were flying around the ship giving us a fantastic display as they too caught the orange glow from the sunrise giving the appearance of the phoenix rising from the ashes, the very epitome of The Firebird.

It certainly was the most beautiful way to start the day.

As we moved further towards The Wilkins Ice Shelf it loomed into view, rising majestically out of the water, a huge wall of ice, thirty meters high, stretching as far as the eye could see from left to right. We travelled slowly towards it for we were now in unchartered waters, the bridge team keeping a close eye on the sea depth as we crept closer. Eventually we stopped within about 800 meters of the shelf. Large pieces of the shelf had removed themselves and were now huge tabular icebergs, free to float wherever the currents and the wind took them. We all gathered on the bow for a celebration of achieving one of our main goals of the trip. Of course, a group photo was taken on the bow of us all in front of the Ice Shelf. We were certainly the most southerly ship on the planet! What a spectacular morning we had experienced!

After sailing alongside the shelf for a while it was time to head back away, as we did so we said goodbye to The Wilkins Ice Shelf and headed off to see what else we could find, we saw one or two Minke whales, Crabeater Seals (in one place alone we counted 49) and a few birds, Snow Petrels, South Polar Skuas and a few Emperor Penguins.

Lunchtime was yet another culinary feast followed by more ice and wildlife watching. We headed towards Alexander Island in search of Emperor Penguins and a suitable place to get off the ship. It was decided that we should wrap up warm and go for a zodiac cruise. Unfortunately, at the very moment the first zodiac was being lowered the wind got up and steadily increased. A combination of high winds, lots of sea ice and cold temperatures equals danger so it was decided to abandon the attempt in favor of safety, we were also a long way from any help!

Instead, it was time to celebrate our furthest south position, 73 degrees 23 minutes south, by way of hot chocolate and rum on the bow. Another party was quickly arranged, and everyone got into the spirit very quickly as we celebrated another successful day in Antarctica.

As the afternoon ended it was time for a warm-up, recap and then dinner, another lovely menu created by the very talented galley team.

After dinner it was time to relax, to reflect on a great day, a day that none of us would repeat in the same way and to look at our photos. For others it was time for popcorn and a showing of the film Happy feet.

What a way to end a fantastic day!

Day 10: At Sea towards Marguerite Bay

At Sea towards Marguerite Bay
Datum: 22.03.2024
Positie: 69° 18.2 ’S / 076° 51.8’W
Wind: N 4
Weer: Overcast
Luchttemperatuur: -1

Today started off with a bang as we were greeted by massive waves from the Bellinghausen Sea, which washed away our beloved Hondius snowman from the bow.

Talk about a dramatic wake-up call!

Breakfast was a bit sparse as some folks couldn't stomach the ship's movements and opted to stay snug in their bunks. But for those of us with sea legs, we shuffled our way to the lounge for Elizabeth’s lecture.

Elizabeth regaled us with tales of the charismatic ocean traveler, the humpback whale. Did you know they're the fifth largest whale? And the way they communicate, their social structures, and their epic migrations to Antarctica are just mind-blowing. Apparently, they chow down on a whopping 83% of their yearly calories during their Antarctic pit stop – kind of like how we're devouring meals onboard nonstop! And get this: they munch on 1.5 tons of krill a day, which is like us chomping down 17 cookies every minute for a full 24 hours. Talk about a hearty appetite!

With winds gusting at a wild 35 knots, the outside decks were off-limits for the morning, but that didn't stop the fulmars from swooping alongside the ship. With fewer folks around, Annelou seized the opportunity to share her insights on ice cores and the ancient stories they hold.

As the sun broke through the clouds, two light-mantled albatrosses swooped by, joining the fulmars and Cape petrels already keeping us company.

In the lounge, Head Chef Ralf Barthel spilled the beans on the secrets behind his mouthwatering meals. Can you believe they make 10,035 meals in just 15 days for the 150 adventurers and 73 crew aboard the Hondius? That's 7000 eggs (2pp per day), 700 liters of milk, and 150 kg of dry rice!

Pelin wrapped up the lecture series with an enthralling tale of Australian explorer Hubert Wilkins, who braved the icy unknowns of Antarctica back in 1928, even discovering an ice shelf and naming it after himself.

With the ship plowing through strong winds and waves splashing over the decks, it was a thrilling end to an adventure-packed day aboard the MS Hondius. And you know what? Despite the rough seas, it was a beautiful day.

Day 11: Marguerite Bay and Horseshoe Island

Marguerite Bay and Horseshoe Island
Datum: 23.03.2024
Positie: 67° 48.2 ’S / 067° 18.4’W
Wind: NE 4
Weer: Partly cloudy
Luchttemperatuur: -2

After yesterday´s rough seas that made significant number of us very seasick, we all were relieved to wake up to smoother waters. As a reward for surviving a tough day, the new day also gifted us a wonderful sunrise. Rays of red, pink, and orange colors were reflecting on the mountains around us while we slowly sailed towards our morning destination, Horseshoe Island. This medium size island of Marguerite Bay takes its name due to its resemblance of a horseshoe and it is home of a historical hut (Base Y) of British Antarctic Survey. (BAS)

Around 10 am, we geared up and got ready to explore outside. We were aiming to do a split landing and zodiac cruise in Sally Cove, on the northern part of the island. Orange group went first ashore to visit the historical hut and stretch their legs after several days at the ship.

Even though we had seen three other historical huts on our voyage, it still was extremely interesting to visit Base Y. The BAS personnel who lived in this hut with their sled dogs from late fifties until mid-sixties conducted many important geographical research and surveying work.

The hut seemed quite a cozy space to live in with breathtaking views of the mountains of Pourquoi Pas Island in the background. It almost felt like they had never left. In the communication room we could read the notes they left for each other. Some of the food was untouched, perfectly preserved. It was like walking into someone´s house when he was not at home and wonder when he would return.

All around the island strange rocks with emerald color veins attracted our attention. Annelou, our Earth Science specialist explained to us that what we were looking at is malachite, a rarely found copper carbonate mineral.

Meanwhile Orange Group was exploring the island, Blue Group enjoyed a lovely zodiac cruise around the bay. Even though Sally Cove does not have any penguin colony, there still was many interesting wildlife to observe. Cruisers could enjoy the sights of many adult male fur seals, a Weddell Seal, several Blue-Eyed Shags and Skuas.

The shallow waters of the cove also hosted many large, grounded icebergs that offered impressive photo opportunities to photography lovers. After everyone completed their landing and zodiac cruise, we headed back to Hondius to enjoy our delicious lunch prepared by our galley team.

Afternoon plans had a slight change. Since the weather looked better than what we expected, our Expedition Leader Pippa and the bridge team decided to take us to the Gullet, this time to navigate narrow tickle channel from South to North. To be able to enjoy the long crossing fully, the Expedition team had decided to move recap to early afternoon.

As always, our guides talked about various interesting subjects. Pelin told us the story of the Furry Explorers of Antarctica, Martin explained how penguins do see while Chloe talked about the wonderful world of the lichens. And of course, Sasha answered our many questions from the question box.

Around 5 pm, we went out to the outer decks fully dressed to enjoy our sailing. We were slowly approaching the Gullet. The scenery around us was very impressive. Fast moving clouds created a dramatic impact on the high mountains. It was mesmerizing to see the huge walls of the glaciers that met the sea. We were out and about enjoying the traverse up until 7pm.

From time to time, we escaped indoors to warm ourselves up with cup of tea then we ran out again. We were very grateful to have the chance to navigate this famous channel not once but twice. And this time we were rewarded with great views.

Around 8pm we were invited to dinner. Once more, Chef Ralf and his team put together a delicious buffet dinner for us. Another unforgettable day in paradise ended with a screening of a movie, Happy Feet 2. We highly recommend it!


We paddled along Sally Cove in the Northwest of Horseshoe Island. As we paddled, we have spotted bluff fighting fur seals, peacefully sleeping fur seals. One lonely Adelie penguin, then further we found a beach full of Adelie penguins and crabeater seal on the rocks. As we paddled closer to the hut and the landing area, we watched a Weddell seal taking a nap. We enjoyed seeing the historic hut from the water.

Day 12: Damoy Point and around Port Lockroy

Damoy Point and around Port Lockroy
Datum: 24.03.2024
Positie: 64° 53.3 ’S / 064° 13.2’W
Wind: E 7
Weer: Snow
Luchttemperatuur: 0

Guests onboard woke up to a bit of strong weather this morning adding a little excitement to the day! The wind was gusting around 25 knots, piercing through two-meter swell and in the middle of a snowy winter wonderland!

After another delicious breakfast from Hondius’ galley team, our lecture program started off with a presentation about Charcot and his expeditions on the western side of the Antarctica Peninsula.

Jean- Baptiste Charcot, also known as the ‘polar gentleman’, was one of the early explorers of the region we would be exploring today. A heroic achievement from his first expedition included contribution to the geographical mapping of Antarctica by mapping over 1,000 kilometres of coastline. His second expedition from 1908-1910, on the ship Le Pourquoi-Pas, Charcot started in the South Shetland Islands and continued south towards Marguerite Bay and the Lemaire Channel area.

It is very extraordinary that we are currently sailing through and exploring the very place that Charcot explored and mapped in the early 1900s!

The next lecture for the morning was presented by Chloe where she passionately provided information about life underwater. She spoke about species like Antarctic cod, Patagonia toothfish, ice fish, and potentially most exciting would be the sea spiders. It has just been discovered that sea spiders have a unique method for oxygen transport in which they use their legs!

Chloe also shared a few stories about what it is like to scuba dive in Antarctica, an activity that Oceanwide provides on some of the trips. She explained how when diving next to an iceberg it changes your buoyancy due to the freshwater concentration increase and the beauty of listening to the icebergs crackle while underwater.

Chloe’s lecture increased guests’ appreciation for the smaller species in the water and the thing that accounts for 70% of the earth’s surface.

After lunch the weather was finally in our favor and we could push further north to our afternoon location, Damoy Point. We would do a split landing and zodiac cruise with our focus on finding gentoo penguin colonies!

The cruise went to check out Port Lockroy and see the famous Penguin Post Office through the UK Heritage Trust.

On shore, we had a proper leg stretch and explored the freshly covered snowy landing site to see both gentoo penguins and another historical hut. Damoy Hut was established by the British Antarctic Survey in November 1975 with its primary purpose to be a transit station for staff and gear to the further south BAS location of Rothera Research Station.

When Rothera could not be accessed by ship due to sea ice, Damoy was the backup. It was last occupied in 1993 and provides a great example of what it would feel like to overwinter in Antarctica.

After a true Antarctica landing experience, it was time to head back onboard and continue north through the night.


We started paddling in Dorian Bay to the west along Damoy Point and crossed to Goudier Island and back where we started.

We enjoyed watching gentoo penguins from our kayaks, we also watched them porpoising next to our kayaks. We have spotted two Weddell seals.

Day 13: Portal Point and Charlotte Bay

Portal Point and Charlotte Bay
Datum: 25.03.2024
Positie: 64° 29.2 ’S / 061° 45.0’W
Wind: W 4
Weer: Partly cloudy
Luchttemperatuur: +1

Today, Hondius woke up early and the morning was beautiful with soft light that reflected off the different icebergs you could see within the bay.

After breakfast, a visit to Portal Point was scheduled. Portal Point was used by the British in the 1950s as a base for survey works into the interior of the Antarctic Peninsula. There, dog sledge teams were able to make their way onto the slope.

At Portal Point, the expedition members were split in two groups for landing and Zodiac cruise, halfway through the morning the groups were swapped. The Point is a scenic Antarctic continental landing where we all had a chance to walk up the snow dome for a view over the iceberg littered bay.

People had a nice time playing in the snow or just sitting and enjoying the beautiful view of the bay. There was a Weddell Seal welcoming us near the landing site. On the other side of the neck, there were fur seals, mostly resting.

From the top of Portal Point, we had breathtaking views and saw groups of Humpback Whales who were in cooperative feeding modes. Their powerful blows could be heard from large distances and simply made us all speechless.

From the zodiacs, there were many beautiful encounters with the Humpback Whales: They were seen lunge feeding but also socializing in small groups. They also readily and curiously approached us and were spy hopping, fluking, pectoral fin waving around the zodiacs.

There were also huge swarms of krill visible, and it soon became evident that the Humpback Whales sometimes needed to rest right beside the zodiacs before moving off again for short feeding stints. They were eating as much krill as they could to prepare themselves for their long migration north to their tropical breeding grounds. Many of us took photographs of their flukes which will help us to learn more about the migration route of these beautiful peninsula whales.

Part of the zodiac cruise also took us to a Chinstrap Penguin colony. The ‘penguin highways’ were visible from far away followed by the typical smell of a penguin colony. We then saw them hopping on the rocks and being actively involved in climbing slowly to the top of the colony.

We also spotted the first Snowy Sheathbill – a small white bird (in Dutch known as South Pole Chicken) which thrives in penguin colonies and feed on anything they can gather, including penguin poo.

After a delicious lunch the weather continued to be sunny with blue skies. Hondius started to transit through the Bransfield Strait towards the Drake. It was time to batten the hatches for our crossing to Ushuaia. Before heading into the Drake Passage, we were accompanied by yet more Humpback Whales, but we also started seeing distant taller blows of large baleen whales.

The day finished with our customary recap and briefing, and another delicious meal from the wonderful team in the galley! After dinner we all sat down in the Lecture room and watched Erin’s lecture about her crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in a rowing boat.


Amazing day kayaking with humpback whales. We witnessed them feeding on krill right next to our kayaks. We also have spotted lots of fur seals. We were surrounded by amazing views of giant icebergs as we paddled.

Day 14: Back at the Drake Passage

Back at the Drake Passage
Datum: 26.03.2024
Positie: 60° 05.5 ’S / 063° 37.2’W
Wind: NNW 5
Weer: Cloudy
Luchttemperatuur: +3

The dawn's first light accompanied by the morning broadcast gradually awakened everyone. Today marked the first day of the return journey to Ushuaia. It was time to return the boots, rented equipment, and waterproof orange backpacks in preparation for the next cruise. Expedition Team spread out to fill their duties and guests engaged in all sorts of activities, cards included.

The first lecture commenced at 10:00am presented by Ursula, who captivated the audience with her insights into the diverse Feeding Strategies of whales in the ocean, leaving a lasting impression on all.

Our expedition leader Pippa invited us to her lecture “From Whaling to Research” delving into the origins of the relationship between human interaction with whales, starting with the early whaling era through to current research.

After lunch as the ship began crossing the Drake Passage, Gabi present her lecture “Becoming Sir Francis Drake “digging deep into the story of the man after whom the tumultuous waters are named.

The hotel department provided exquisite snacks for everyone to enjoy a moment of relaxation and before we knew it, it was time for Adam to share his experiences and talk about “Supporting Antarctic Science “. As an experienced British Antarctic Survey employee, his deep insights into the varied facets of Antarctica and the challenges faced by different nations in establishing and maintaining research stations in the region captivated the audience.

At one of the last recaps Ursula then introduced the “Happy Whale Citizen Science Project”, providing an opportunity for participants to upload photos of whale tails to contribute to whale research. Meika followed with a historical knowledge sharing session, recounting the touching story of "The Last Dutch Whaler," leaving a profound impact on the audience. Finally, Rose answered the last questions from the question box.

Just before dinner's end, Sasha's voice came over the broadcast, ready to share his legendary life story, from the ghost towns of the Arctic to the Antarctic, and his work at Russian research stations, entertaining us with his lively and humorous tales.

Day 15: Drake Passage

Drake Passage
Datum: 27.03.2024
Positie: 55° 35.0 ’S / 066° 04.7’W
Wind: W 7
Weer: Partly cloudy
Luchttemperatuur: +5

We woke to a bright, sunny morning but with winds blowing at storm force 10 and a great deal of rock & rolling. By now, many of us had our sea legs, so breakfast was well attended. The decks were closed initially but as we came into the shelter of Cape Horn, the swell subsided and we were able to get out and enjoy the seabirds that were following the ship. We were now coming onto the continental shelf of South America and the associated upwelling of nutrients and food are what attract these birds to this area.

Numerous Wandering Albatross, of many ages and associated plumage states, were the highlight but a single Southern Royal Albatross was also photographed. Sooty Shearwaters were starting to appear alongside small fleet of Southern Giant Petrels. Inside, Pelin gave her talk in the lecture room on ‘Greenhouse to Icehouse’, which included a summary of the Antarctic Treaty. Andrew followed later in the morning with his personal take of the added value that can be extracted from our very own photographs of wildlife.

Before lunch the coast of Tierra del Fuego was in sight and after, we got the call to settle our on-board bills (how much did I spend!?!). Meike presented on the ‘Impact of Marine Plastic on Birds’ and Elizabeth had the honour to close our entire lecture programme with her great insight into wildlife conservation. How much we have learnt along the way!

By the late afternoon we were into the Beagle Channel, greeted by Dusky Dolphin and Sei Whales. We then changed for our final evening activities; this started by joining the Captain to toast the success of our voyage, followed by thanking Pippa and her fantastic team for all their hard work.

We then sat back to enjoy the incredible slide show prepared by Georgina.

Excited by reliving the memories of our trip, we went down for our final dinner and a chance to extend more thanks to all the other departments on the ship, who had made our expedition an experience we will cherish forever.

Day 16: Ushuaia

Datum: 28.03.2024
Positie: 54° 51.8 ’S / 068° 01.9’W
Wind: N 2
Weer: Partly cloudy
Luchttemperatuur: +3

After an awkwardly still night in port in Ushuaia we wake up one final time to the voice of Pippa. Bags packed, breakfast served, time for a very emotional moment! Time to say farewell and till the next time.

Over the last two weeks we have seen some incredibly remote and wild places and the creatures that defy the odds and called them home. We have learnt inspiring new things about the polar environment and our precious oceans, and we have memories that will live forever in our minds. And most of all, we have gotten to know each other pretty well and made some connections that will last a lifetime.


Reiscode: HDS30-24
Reisdatum: 13 mrt. - 28 mrt., 2024
Duur: 15 nachten
Schip: m/v Hondius
Inscheping: Ushuaia
Ontscheping: Ushuaia

Op deze reis geweest?

Aboard m/v Hondius

Hondius is 's werelds eerste geregistreerde Polar Class 6 schip en is van onder tot boven gebouwd voor expeditie cruises.

More about the m/v Hondius »