Day 1: Buenos Aires
Charter flight from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia/Argentina, departure 18.00 hrs
Day 2: Drake Passage
Day 3-8: South Shetland Islands , Antarctic Peninsula
The semi-circumnavigation of the Antarctic is something very special for those in search of an unforgettable expedition. The HANSEATIC inspiration is embarking on this nautical experience for the very first time with an unbelievable route from South America to New Zealand. The captain and crew will adapt the itinerary to the constantly changing conditions – starting with the South Shetland Islands. Towering basalt cliffs, rugged volcanic rock and black volcanic beaches herald an impressive destination: the Antarctic Peninsula. Icebergs, glaciers and majestic mountains – populated by penguins, seals and a huge variety of seabirds. A small manoeuvrable expedition ship like the HANSEATIC inspiration promises unforgettable days here. Numerous Zodiac rides and landings heighten the sense of discovery. Stories of pioneers are brought to life on islands, in bays and in seas with names harking back to great explorers. Whether in the footsteps of James Clark Ross, Robert Falcon Scott or Sir Ernest Shackleton – you’ll follow their pioneering spirit on your expedition.
Day 9-17: Relaxation at sea (cruise through Bellingshausen Sea, Amundsen Sea and Ross Sea – Day 17 omitted due to crossing the International Date Line)
Depending on the ice and weather conditions, the HANSEATIC inspiration will head to Deception Island. Marvel at the extinct volcano all around you as the ship sails into the centre of the flooded caldera and takes you to the black volcanic beaches. Along wonderful icy panoramas populated by Weddell and fur seals, you will head for Paradise Bay and its drifting icebergs. Perhaps some humpback whales will follow the ship through the Neumayer Channel, a labyrinthine strait of water framed by a bizarre coastline of cliffs and ice. In Port Lockroy, you will be greeted by gentoo penguins with their striking cry, and you can send a unique greeting home from the world’s southernmost post office. Mountains up to 1,000 m (3,281 ft) high flank the narrow Lemaire Channel on one of the world’s most beautiful sea passages. Keep an eye out for gentoo and Adelie penguins and the blue-eyed cormorants that have their breeding colonies on Petermann Island. Other ships have long had to turn back at this point, but the HANSEATIC inspiration is able to cross the Antarctic Circle and head for more Antarctic adventures. It is hard to imagine living in this isolation as a scientist, but the remains of a hut and a plaque at the cape of Prospect Point serve as reminders that some once did.
With the highest ice class for passenger ships, the HANSEATIC inspiration can forge its way to the most beautiful and rarely visited regions such as Marguerite Bay and a British research station dating back to the 1960s. On Stonington Island, you will discover how skuas and Antarctic terns have taken possession of the researchers’ abandoned base. The following days at sea will be shaped not only by fascinating expert presentations on board, but also by the golden age of Antarctic research as the HANSEATIC inspiration cruises in the Bellingshausen Sea, Amundsen Sea and Ross Sea. These seas take their names from the daring explorers who boarded their vessels many years ago to travel this remote region without modern technology, putting their lives on the line. And they may well have been just as impressed as you are by similar views.
Day 18-23: Ross Island , Terra Nova Bay , Victoria Land
The excitement builds on board: what are the ice conditions on the Ross Sea? It is the ideal season, the perfect timing – can the HANSEATIC inspiration make its way through the pack ice and drifting ice to get to Ross Island? Will the weather and ice conditions allow us to land in legendary places such as Cape Royds? The spot where Sir Ernest Shackleton built a base camp for his South Pole expedition in 1908 is now home to penguins. Cape Evans, by contrast, set the scene for the Terra Nova expedition led by Robert Falcon Scott, who never returned from his attempt to beat Roald Amundsen to the South Pole. The American McMurdo Station will also bring polar history to life (subject to authorisation). In the shadow of the modern building and the mighty Mount Erebus stands the Discovery hut built by Scott in 1902. A good ten years later, it also played an important part in Shackleton’s Endurance expedition as a base camp for the planned crossing of Antarctica. With a little luck, you might spot emperor penguins and whales in this historically significant region. Another indescribable highlight awaits as you cruise in front of the fantastic backdrop of the Ross Ice Shelf: the gigantic wall of ice as tall as houses stretches for hundreds of kilometres. Next, Victoria Land welcomes you with an endless expanse in Terra Nova Bay, named after the ship that Scott was sailing in when he discovered the bay in 1901. The features here now include an Italian research station. In Cape Adare, you will find the ruins of a hut that Borchgrevink built in 1899 and in which an expedition team spent a winter in Antarctica for the first time. The spectacular natural surroundings are just as moving as the region’s past – including the largest colony of Adelie penguins in Antarctica with over 250,000 breeding pairs.
Day 24 At Sea
Day 25 Balleny Islands/New Zealand
In the southern Pacific Ocean, you will discover untouched island worlds barely known in our latitudes – true natural paradises that are home to a rich animal kingdom. The small, manoeuvrable HANSEATIC inspiration allows you to cruise as closely as possible to the coast – even closer if the authorities permit us to land. The largely glaciated Balleny Islands offer mystical sights.
Day 26-27 At Sea
Day 28 Macquarie Island
If authorisation is granted, you can watch king and royal penguins and fur seals on Macquarie Island.
Day 29 At Sea
Day 30-32 Campbell Island , Auckland Islands , Snares Islands/New Zealand
The world’s largest breeding colony of southern royal albatrosses can be found on Campbell Island. And on a Zodiac ride, you might be able to make out some elephant seals among the tussock grass. With grasslands, moors and dense rata forests, the Auckland Islands have the lushest flora of all the subantarctic islands. As well as yellow-eyed penguins, New Zealand sea lions also live here. The Snares penguin, meanwhile, is only found on the Snares Islands, where they live alongside cape petrels and albatrosses among bizarre rock formations. It will become particularly striking here that by making this semi-circumnavigation of the Antarctic, you are one of the few people who have delved deep into the secrets of this remote region.
Day 33 At Sea
Day 34 Lyttelton (Christchurch)/New Zealand, arrival 6.00 hrs