Re: Antarctic Peninsula vs Ross Sea Region
I haven't been to the Peninsula (yet!), but I have been on the Kapitan Khlebnikov to the Ross Sea (Jan-Feb 2005). I travel widely, but this was the best expedition I've yet undertaken, and a few of my photos are on the 'Members pictures' area of this site [username = Mike].
The main things you need to think about are:
- it takes 5-6 days to reach the Ross Sea from NZ or Australia, compared with just 2 days across the Drake Passage, and so you need to allow 3-4 weeks for the entire trip. This all costs $$$'s, but it's worth every cent!!
- an icebreaker (like the Khlebnikov), rather than just an ice-strengthened ship, is pretty much essential as the sea ice in McMurdo Sound can be very thick. Also make sure the ship has helicopters on board and not just Zodiacs.
- the Ross Sea contains the bulk of the historic huts etc from the Heroic Age of Antarctic exploration. The preserved interiors of Scott and Shackleton's huts are iconic, and in my view well worth the journey on their own!
- you probably won't see as wide a diversity of wildlife species in the Ross Sea as you get on the Peninsula, but a stop at Macquarie Island either on the way to / from Antarctica will more than make up for that: it's an amazing place teeming with penguins and elephant seals!
Hope this helps - and, if you do get the chance to go, then don't forget to post on this board afterwards to tell us all about it!