The Ross Sea: the last one

Almost three weeks ago I started this series about the Ross Sea. The main reason was to tell people about this very special and rarely  visited area that will become a Marine Protected Area on December 1st of this year. Hopefully this MPA will be the first of many around Antarctica. I’ve recently spoken to someone involved in the CCAMLR-negotiations and he told me they will continue negotiating about new MPA’s, though this would be a long process…

McMurdo Station

Maybe this series of blog posts triggered interest by somebody to get to this remote part of the world. A place this remote is always very difficult to get to. You don’t just take a ferry to get there. There are two ways to get there and both are out of reach for most people.

First of all there are several scientific stations in the area: the American McMurdo base, with a summer population of around 2000 people the largest scientific base on Antarctica, the nearby New Zealand Scott base are both found in the McMurdo Sound area on Ross Island. In Terra Nova Bay there are three stations, the Italian Zucchelli, the German Gondwana station and the South Korean Jang Bogo station. To visit a station like this you need to be a scientist or part of the support crew and usually have the nationality of the station. And most of the time this also means you have to stay there several months, more as most people would want to spent in a place like this.

MV Ortelius in the Ross Sea

An alternative would be to join an expedition cruise to the area. There are only few expedition cruise operators who offer trips to this area, most cruises go to the Antarctic Peninsula. Reason for this is that it’s only two days sailing to the Peninsula, while the shortest distance from the Ross Sea towards New Zealand, is at least five days sailing. However, when you get there there are really nice things to see, as you could have read in the previous posts. The pictures I took was during my work as an expedition guide onboard the Ortelius with Oceanwide Expeditions. The advantage of this company is they have helicopters, which allows us to land in places inaccessible for most other companies, like the McMurdo Dry Valleys. When interested, keep an eye on their website, they don’t offer this trip every year.

Arjen Drost

Arjen is a Polar ecologist, nature photographer and full time expedition guide on expedition cruise ships in both Polar regions. With his pictures and stories he likes to show the beauty of these very fragile and threatened places.


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