For many years, New Zealand has been on my list of places to which I want to travel. I’ve been to its neighbor, Australia, but for only ten days. That was a fabulous trip to the “red center”—Alice Springs and all the wonderful hiking and wilderness places in that area. With work obligations, it wasn’t possible for me to stay any longer, otherwise I would have visited more of Australia and made my way to New Zealand.
The Ross Sea is another place on the planet that I would love to see. Ross has a huge scientific base and is the starting point for scientific expeditions to the south pole and other remote regions. The Ross base is not a tourist destination, but the Ross Sea is the southernmost ocean on the planet is open for travellers. It also has the Ross Ice Shelf which is likely to melt with global warming. I’ve been fascinated by the planet’s extremes, which is perhaps why I would love to go to the Ross Sea area. If you are curious about the Ross area, I recommend watching Werner Herzhog's documentary Encounters at the End of the World.
I discovered that there is an expedition cruise that starts in Ushuaia, Argentina, travels to Antarctica, goes along the Antarctic coast, past the Ross Sea, onto the sub-antarctic islands of New Zealand, and ends in Dunedin, New Zealand. The trip starts in Buenos Aires. After a day there and a charter flight to Ushuaia, the marine portion of the trip begins. The entire trip takes 35 days, with about 32 on the sea. The ship, which holds about 130 passengers, must be self-sufficient because I don’t think there are any fueling stations along the way. I assume the ship can also desalinate water and process sewage. The ship, the National Geographic Endurance, is the newest, state-of-the-art, ecological ship—a next generation ship built by Ulstein (https://ulstein.com/references/national-geographic-endurance).
I signed on for the December 2022 sailing, as the December 2021 sailing was fully booked. It may seem like a long way off, but I have so much travel to catch up on in 2021, that 2022 will be here in a flash. For me, New Zealand the long way was something I imagined years ago. It wasn’t until now that I was able to find an itinerary that matched my dreams. The next generation ship has made it possible.