Sneaking through a weather window, National Geographic Endurance sailed south from Macquarie Island overnight and through the day. While the waters outside our windows haven’t visibly changed, temperature readings on the bridge tell a different story – we have transited the sub-Antarctic region, entered the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, and crossed the polar front. This zone of dramatic temperature change and enhanced biological productivity marks our arrival to the true Southern Ocean! Informative lectures and a relaxing afternoon balanced this enjoyable day at sea, and the evening featured popcorn and a classic Kiwi movie.
National Geographic Endurance
This morning there is once again water as far as the eye can see, and the Drake Passage has not lived up to its intimidating reputation. The sun came out in glorious form and we watched it paint the tops of the waves with orange light. Land Ho! South America has been spotted. Soon the green covered hills of Tierra Del Fuego were clearly seen. Gone are the ice-covered hills, the glaciers, and tabular icebergs. Before us are trees, sea birds, and hints of a town. Black-browed albatross and blue-eyed shags guide us toward the tip of South America as if to help us transition from the life we have lived these past weeks back to the lives we previously knew. How to share what we just experienced with those we love who have not been a part of it is a quandary we all face. How many of our photos do we share to convey the magic? Will anyone honestly understand how we felt being there? Will anyone notice that we have been deeply changed by this past month in Antarctica? And the question that we all ask ourselves, will we be able to keep this experience close to our hearts? “Dolphin!”, someone cries out. Our inner thoughts disappear as Peale’s dolphins bow ride our ship. Then the blows of sei whales are seen and we spend the rest of the afternoon watching their sharp dorsal fins cut the surface of the sea. The ship moves on as life moves on. Our trip is coming to an end. The Beagle channel opens its arms and welcomes us back. Fair winds and following seas fellow travelers.