The m/v Ortelius' helicopter allows you to view the rookery of 4,000 emperors south of Snow Hill Island. The Weddell sea may be blocked by heavy ice, while the ice in the rookery could break and melt sooner than anticipated. The goal is to find penguins as they are on their way out of the water. This search is made possible by the thrilling helicopter flight, which allows you to land at locations that would otherwise be inaccessible so early in season. You can take a helicopter transfer from your ship to Snow Hill Island if the conditions of the ice are good and there is no multi-year pack-ice on the way. This will be about 45 minutes walk to the Emperor Penguin rookery. This is an experience that you will never forget if it goes well. Remember that the nature dictates the itinerary: Snow Hill Island was not reached on all voyages from 2012 to 2019. In 2013, 2017, 2018 and 2019 conditions are favorable for landing by helicopter and visiting the Emperor Penguin rookery on Snow Hill Island.
Brown Bluff - Possibly the most picturesque location on the northernmost tip of Antarctica: canyon walls with sheer drops, boulders that have fallen, and volcanic formations topped by ice. Here, a large Adelie-penguin colony lives. Gentoo-penguins nesting and snow petrels can also be seen.
Gourdin Island - This island is a great place to land if you are continuing your Antarctic expedition.
Esperanza Base - This Argentinean research station could be used as a landing site alternative. It is open year round and one of the only two civil settlements on Antarctica.
While helicopters offer a convenient means of reaching the emperor penguin colony, nature ultimately dictates the terms of access in Antarctica. If weather conditions permit, you'll have the opportunity to spend the first two days observing the penguins at their rookery. The helicopter operation itself takes a full day, with flights lasting approximately 15 minutes. Each helicopter can accommodate 4 to 6 passengers per trip, and landing sites are carefully selected to minimize disturbance to the penguins. Following the helicopter ride, there's a 45-minute walk to the rookery. It's crucial to remember that you're venturing into the world's most remote region, where there are no guarantees. Conditions can change rapidly, potentially affecting helicopter operations significantly. It's essential to understand and respect these limitations. Safety is our paramount concern, and no compromises will be made.