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Explore Antarctica's Historical Gateway: The Ross Sea

Story by Heritage Expeditions

Posted: March 22, 2017

The majority of people visiting Antarctica do so via South America to the Antarctic Peninsula. But there is another lesser known gateway through New Zealand to the Ross Sea region of Antarctica.  This region is sometimes referred to as Antarctica's 'Historic Gateway', because it was through this Gateway that explorers such as Scott, Shackleton, Amundsen, Shirase and Borchgrevink reached Antarctica in their quest for the South Pole (and fame). Relics from a number of these expeditions remain such as  Scott’s Discovery and Terra Nova huts, Shackleton's Nimrod hut and Borchgrevink's hut at Cape Adare. These huts provide visitors with a unique lens into the past, bringing alive characters and events from this Heroic period of Antarctic exploration in a way that is not possible anywhere else in the world.

We have been offering annual Ross Sea expeditions since the summer of 1993/94. There are occasional other visitors but we largely have the Ross Sea to ourselves; it is rare that you see another vessel and therefore timetabling or scheduling landings is not an issue. Unlike the Peninsula which is accessible from November through to April, the Ross Sea is only accessible for a few weeks in January and February each year.  We have a longer distance to travel to the Ross Sea than across the Drake Passage, but we do have some amazing Subantarctic Islands to break up the journey. Sea conditions and weather conditions on the voyage south can be similar to the Drake Passage and ice conditions are definitely a lot more difficult and unpredictable.  However for those who take the journey the rewards are amazing.

It takes an experienced crew and staff to work in what is arguably some of the toughest conditions on the globe. Our vessels have proven themselves time and time again. Our Captains have sailed this route more than anybody else in the history of Antarctic exploration. I am proud of the knowledge, passion and commitment that my staff bring to each expedition, they are simply the best, like the earliest explorers to this part of Antarctica, they are heroes.

If Antarctica is calling, if it is in your blood and you are looking for a truly unique and rewarding experience consider joining us next summer as we follow in the footsteps of Scott, Shackleton and others to the Ross Sea  of Antarctica.

Contact us to request a full expedition itinerary today.

Rodney Russ

Owner and Founder