Oceanwide Expeditions
Ortelius, Weddell Sea Emperor Penguin 2018 ex Ushuaia Roundtrip
Ship: Ortelius
Selected Sailing Date: 18 Nov 2018
Available Sailing Dates


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Prices displayed are retail per person, twin share, to the Australian Travel Trade. Consumers please contact your local cruise agent to request this Cruise Abroad package. At time of booking please check current cruise fare and any inclusions. Prices are indicative only, subject to currency fluctuations and may change at any time without notice.

Cruise Itinerary
Itinerary may vary by sailing date and itineraries may be changed at the cruise lines discretion. Please check itinerary details at time of booking and before booking other travel services such as airline tickets.
Cruise Description

10 Night Cruise sailing from Ushuaia roundtrip aboard Ortelius.

PLEASE NOTE: A typical itinerary to the Weddell Sea is illustrated below. All itineraries are for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on local ice and weather conditions, the availability of landing sites and opportunities to see wildlife. The Expedition Leader on board will determine the final itinerary. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises. Average cruising speed of m/v Ortelius is 10.5 knots. 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 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 attempted to reach Snow Hill Island during our voyages in 2012 - 16. We only succeeded to reach an area from where the Emperor penguin rookery could be reached by helicopter in 2013, 2015, and 2016 and only in 2013 did the ice conditions allow for an ice landing by helicopter and hence a successful visit to the Emperor rookery.

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 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 see Wandering albatrosses, Grey-headed albatrosses, Black- browed albatrosses, Light- mantled albatrosses, Cape petrels, Southern fulmars, Wilson’s storm petrels, Blue petrels and Antarctic petrels. Near the South Shetland Islands, we spot our first icebergs.

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 Expedition Leader on board will determine the final itinerary. We hope sail into the Weddell Sea via the Antarctic Sound. Huge tabular icebergs will 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 may also offer scenic flights and – if the conditions allow us – possible helicopter landings in locations otherwise inaccessible so early in the season. Helicopter flights are a great contribution to the voyage and may include: The western side of the Antarctic Sound is an area only rarely seen from the air. The scenery is stunning with landscapes of layered sandstones, lava flows, glaciers tumbling into the sea and icebergs 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 below us. The landscape is dominated by Jagged mountains piercing 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 may 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. Seymour Island just north of Snow Hill Island is the place where the Swedish Antarctic Expedition from 1901-04 overwintered under miraculous circumstances. The sedimentary rocks include a large array of fossils and some spectacular views. We may also make use of our flotilla of Zodiacs on board and if the ice-situation allows us to go further into the Weddell Sea area. Opportunities for Zodiac activities are very good and may include places like: Devil Island, near Vega Island, which is home to 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’. Brown Bluff is yet another stunning place on the Continent and home to a large Adelié penguin rookery, Gentoo penguins, and nesting Snow petrels. Gourdin Island, with three penguin species; Chinstrap, Gentoo and Adélie is yet another option for great adventure. The Argentinean station Esperanza on the Antarctic Continent may also be an option to visit.

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 depart into the Drake Passage around noon.

Day 9 - 10: At sea en-route to Ushuaia
On our way north a great selection of seabirds will follow the ship while crossing the Drake Passage.

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 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 4-6 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. Upon 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 which can have its impact on the helicopter operation. Passengers should understand and accept this. Safety is our greatest concern and no compromises can be made.