Travelers looking for an adventure far beyond where most people go and beyond what most can even imagine should consider a trip to Antarctica’s Ross Sea. The Ross Sea is one of the last seas on Earth that remains almost entirely untouched by humans. The massive Ross Ice Shelf and the area of the continent nearby includes vast, breathtaking landscapes seen nowhere else, including views of towering Mt. Erebus, the southernmost volcano on earth.
If you’ve been to seven continents, visited all the adventure destinations you can think of, and are looking for a trip to top your other experiences, this mythic region that inspired the likes of Roald Amundsen, Earnest Shackleton, and Robert Falcon Scott awaits you as its next intrepid explorer.
Only a handful of ships offer passenger trips to the Ross Sea and it’s important to note that the transit between either Bluff, New Zealand or Ushuaia, Argentina takes at least four days each way. Inclement weather can also add to your ship time if landings are unsafe, so be ready to relax on your ship while you wait for some of the most adventurous experiences of your life.
Exploration is a major theme of every Ross Sea voyage. All the ships that travel will make an effort to visit at least a couple of the region’s famous explorer huts. Both Scott’s and Shackleton’s huts will give you insight into the harsh conditions and minimal odds of survival these men faced during the “Heroic Era” in the early 20th Century. You’ll also hear about Roald Amundsen, the first man to reach the South Pole via the Ross Ice Shelf.
Some visitors to this region have a keen interest in scientific developments and are eager to visit Scott Base (NZ), McMurdo Station (US) or Terra Nova Station (Italy). These landings are always weather dependent and weather is extremely changeable in this region. Still, the opportunity to visit one or more of these stations, meet the scientists and hear about their work in astrophysics, geospace sciences, biology, ecosystems, geology and geophysics, glaciology, ice cores, and ocean and climate systems is astonishing!
Still, what lures most adventurers to the Ross Sea are the wildlife and the Great Blue Ice. The Ross Ice Shelf produces a high concentration of plankton which attracts a wide array of marine life. Due to limited human interference, its top predators are still in great evidence. Whale, seal, and fish populations flourish like nowhere else on earth. The Ross Sea provides habitat for 38% of the world’s Adelie penguin population, 26% of all 3-foot tall Emperor penguins like those on the film, March of the Penguins, 6% of Antarctic Minke whales, and 30% of all killer whales.
As for landscapes and landing sites, here are a few as described by our Wild Nectar operators (all weather-permitting) :
Cape Hallett: “Wild and extraordinary, the mountains rear up towering out of the sea to over 4,000- metres high and are bounded by colossal glaciers.” Heritage Adventurer
Inexpressible Island: “...has a fascinating history in connection to the less-known Northern Party of Captain Scott’s expedition. It is also home to a large Adélie penguin rookery.” Ortelius
Possession Island: “Rarely-visited, small and rugged, these rocks support tens of thousands of penguins. Observe the birds’ busy and humorous activity with the Admiralty Mountains forming a superb backdrop across the water.” Heritage Adventurer
A trip to the Ross Sea also includes visits to the unique wildlife habitats of the sub-Antarctic Islands off the coast of New Zealand. These islands are known for their unbelievable bird populations. The Heritage Adventurer has special permits in this region that allow for extraordinary sightings. These islands include:
Macquarie Island: “Described by one Australian explorer as ‘One of the wonder spots of the world’ this is the only place in the world where the beautiful Royal Penguin breeds. Three other species of penguins, the King, Gentoo and Rockhopper also breed here.” Heritage Adventurer
Campbell Island: “A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Campbell hosts a large and easily accessible colony of southern royal albatrosses on the main island. Breeding on the satellite islands are wandering, Campbell, grey-headed, black-browed, and light-mantled albatrosses. There are also three breeding penguin species present: eastern rockhopper, erect-crested, and yellow-eyed penguins.” Ortelius
A trip to the Ross Sea will provide you with bragging rights, yes, as hardly anyone gets to visit these extremely remote locations, yet it will also imbue you with a powerful sense of wonder, as you'll be seeing the natural world as it exists without human interference. Unlike other places you’ve explored, the vastness of the ice and the vibrancy of the wildlife here will speak to an elemental part of you that perhaps you were previously unaware of.
And even though you’ll be venturing far from human civilization, you won’t have to sacrifice comfort. Wild Nectar offers ships traveling to the Ross Sea with a range of comfort levels. The temps in Antarctica in the Austral summer range from 20-40F (-6 - 4C), like a warm winter day in the Midwest, plus we’ll advise you on exactly what gear to bring so you can remain warm and toasty throughout your trip.
Ready to secure your adventure on one of these ships? 2023 availability is very limited so please contact us soon so we can help.