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Author: Rebecca Gibson/Monday, January 11, 2016/Categories: News, Cruise news, Ports and destinations
Netherlands-based polar cruise company Oceanwide Expeditions is to offer two new expeditions in the Ross Sea in Antarctica next year.
Following successful expeditions in 2013 and 2015, the small-ship operator will offer two Antarctica cruises onboard its ice-strengthened vessel Ortelius, enabling guests to explore the Ross Sea, which was first discovered by British Polar explorer Sir James Clark Ross in 1841. The first voyage will start in South America and include a crossing of the Polar Circle, a call at Peter I Island and a crossing of the Bellingshausen sea into the Ross Sea. Passengers will then travel to the uninhabited sub-Antarctic Campbell Island and spend 32 days in New Zealand. The second cruise offers the same itinerary, but in reverse.
Ortelius will be equipped with helicopters to facilitate shore excursions to the rarely visited volcanic Peter I Island, the huts of the British explorers Ernest Shackleton and Robert Falcon Scott on Ross Island, McMurdo Station, the Dry Valleys and Campbell Island. Travellers will also be able to view various wildlife during the journey including minke whales, orcas, weddell and crabeater seals, adelie and emperor penguins, petrels and skuas.
“With the advantages of the Ortelius, in combination with the use of helicopters, our travellers will have some great opportunities exploring Antarctica’s most fascinating sites,” said Michel van Gessel, Oceanwide Expedition’s CEO.
According to Oceanwide Expeditions, the Ross Sea region of Antarctica has ‘always presented a dream, but also a challenge to visit to explorers’. Although it was first discovered in 1841, the race to the South Pole began when the British Royal Geographic Society sent Robert Falcon Scott on his voyage in 1901, followed by Ernest Shackleton in 1907-1909, Japanese explorer Nobu Shirase in 1910-1912, and another attempt of Scott and Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen who reached the pole in 1911. The region still remains a challenge due to the lengthy distances, largely inaccessible landing sites and the fact that the Ross Ice Shelf prevents a full seasonal operation.
Oceanwide Expeditions is currently running a Ross Sea contest to offer one free cruise passage on Ortelius.
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