Named after the British sailor James Weddell who entered the sea in 1823, the Weddell Sea is part of the Southern Ocean and is believed to have the clearest water of any sea. Measurements by Dutch researchers in 1986 established visibility to a depth of 262 feet, which is the same as the clarity of distilled water. In 1950 the historian Thomas Henry described how ships were unable to navigate a path through the Weddell Sea to the coast until 1949, and the treacherous ‘flash freezes’ that left expedition ships such as Ernest Shackleton's Endurance at the mercy of the ice floes.
"The Weddell Sea is, according to the testimony of all who have sailed through its berg-filled waters, the most treacherous and dismal region on earth. The Ross Sea is the relatively peaceful, predictable, and safe."
Fiona’s travel tips
READ: Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing; A First-Rate tragedy: Robert Falcon Scott & the Race to the South Pole by Diana Preston and Mawson’s Will by Lennard Bickel.
TOP TIP: If you are considering one of the Ross Sea voyages out of New Zealand, why not make the most of your visit and ask us about tailor-making a holiday there to fit round your voyage?
DID YOU KNOW: A 10 metre long colossal squid weighing 495 kg was captured in the Ross Sea in February 2007?
LET US KNOW: If you have a former connection with any of the polar regions we visit by ship. Perhaps you or a relative lived on one of the bases, or were a member of a past expedition? We can offer you the chance to share your experiences, diaries or photographs with others on your voyage. In the past we’ve even got the ship to make unscheduled visits to tie in with such an event.
“It was a fascinating voyage with lasting impressions. The wildlife both on the Falklands and on Antarctica is incredibly rich. The organisation on board the ship was very good. Among the talks given by the scientific crew I enjoyed the witty talks by Robert Headland the most. The familiar atmosphere in the lodges on Sea Lion Island and on Carcass Island was very nice indeed. Last but not least I should like to thank you for the impeccable organisation on your part.”
Mr Hubert Kalf, Epic Antarctica icebreaker voyage