Weddell Sea - Emperor Penguin Voyage - M/V Ortelius 2016/17

An Emperor Penguin rookery is situated south of Snow Hill Island. The vessel will try to position close enough to Snow Hill Island to enable ship-to-shore helicopter transfers to within 45 minutes walk of the Rookeries, a fascinating experience.

  • At A Glance


    Ushuaia - Weddell Sea - Snow Hill Island - South Shetland Islands - Ushuaia



    • The wildlife of the Antarctic Peninsula and the Weddell Sea, stunning scenery, icebergs and glaciers.
    • Emperor Penguin Rookeries.
    • Helicopter landings.
    • Deception Island & Half Moon Island.
    • Take small group zodiac cruises and hikes ashore.



    • Seabirds: Albatrosses, Fulmars, Petrels, Shags, Skuas, Prions, Shearwaters.
    • Penguins: Chinstrap, Gentoo, Adelies, Emperors.
    • Whales: Humpback, Fin, Minke, Orca, Southern Right, Blue, Sperm, Dolphins.
    • Seals: Weddell, Elephant.



    • 10 nights/11 days






    Detailed Itinerary

    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 final itinerary will be determined by the Expedition Leader on board. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises


    An Emperor Penguin rookery is situated south of Snow Hill Island. The captain of the vessel will do his utmost to position the vessel close enough to Snow Hill Island in order to enable us to offer ship-to-shore helicopter transfers to approx. 45 minutes walking distance from the Emperor Penguin Rookeries. If we succeed, this will be a fascinating and a once-in-a lifetime experience


    During this voyage we will reserve three days to visit the Emperor Rookeries by helicopters. If we succeed the first two days, we may decide to offer an alternative landing in the Weddell Sea on the third day, such as Paulet Island where we can visit a fantastic Adelie penguin colony with approximately 1 million breeding pairs.


    Day 1 (Argentina)

    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:

    During these two days we will 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 meet Wandering Albatrosses, Grey Headed Albatrosses, Black-browed Albatrosses, Light-mantled Sooty Albatrosses, Cape Pigeons, Southern Fulmars, Wilson's Storm Petrels, Blue Petrels and Antarctic Petrels.


    Day 4:

    A typical itinerary in the Weddell Sea could be as follows. This is a sample only, the final itinerary will be determined by the Expedition Leader on board.


    We will sail into the Weddell Sea and if the Antarctic Sound is accessible and the ice does not prevent us to sail further, we might see the huge tabular icebergs that announce our arrival to the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula. We plan to offer an Antarctic Continent landing at Brown Bluff.


    Day 5 - 6:

    The use of helicopters has a great advantage and can support us in our goal 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 6 passengers per helicopter flight. The landing point of the helicopters will be carefully chosen and we will make sure that the Emperors are not disturbed or stressed by helicopter noise. Therefore, after arrival, the passengers continue their expedition on foot.


    After a walk of approx. 45 minutes, passengers will experience one of the greatest moments in their life, a 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, having its impact on the helicopter operation and passengers should understand and accept this. Safety is our greatest concern and no compromises can be made.


    Day 7:

    If conditions were favourable on both day 5 and 6 and we have successfully visited the Emperor Penguins, we may decide to visit Devil Island, Vega Island or Hope Bay.


    If we have not reached the Emperor Penguin colony on one or two of the previous days, we will try again offering ship-to-shore helicopter flights to Snow Hill Island.


    Day 8:

    In the morning we plan to visit Half Moon Island where we can see Chinstrap and Gentoo Penguins, various other bird-species and Southern Elephant Seals and Weddell seals.



    Early in the afternoon we will sail to Deception where we have the last landing of our voyage at Pendulum cove.


    Day 9 & 10:

    In the Drake Passage we have again a chance of seeing many seabirds and to take advantage of the knowledge of our lecture team.


    Day 11:

    We arrive in the morning in Ushuaia and disembark.






  • ---
  • Landing Locations

  • Please contact us.
  • Please contact us.