At the end of a very mellow crossing of the Drake Passage, the sun made an appearance as we passed by the South Shetland Islands early this morning. A number of fin whale blows caught our attention, and conditions on deck while watching the whales through binoculars were positively balmy. After lunch, we made a continental landing at Brown Bluff, home to about 18,000 pairs of Adelie penguins and 800 pairs of gentoo penguins during the nesting season. As a first introduction to Antarctica, it was the perfect spot for guests to delight in the sounds…and smells…of these uniquely Antarctic birds.
National Geographic Explorer
We approached the Beagle Channel on our final day on board National Geographic Explorer . The winds had calmed, and the sun was shining. This resulted in the perfect opportunity to spot sei whales, which are often found in the waters of the Beagle Channel. Naturalist Sophie Van Der Hart provided us with the first lecture of the day, sharing insights about the evolution of whales. We learned how whales truly became the giants of our oceans. After lunch, climate change in the Antarctic was the topic for discussion. Naturalist Zac Brown guided us through the impacts this pristine environment is facing due to a rapidly changing climate and the things we can do to help. The afternoon’s activities came to a close with a delightful tea prepared by the hotel team. The captain’s farewell cocktail party gave us the chance to reflect on the expedition with a premiere of the guest slideshow. We celebrated a fantastic exploration of the Southern Ocean as the photos in the slideshow reminded us of the amazing wildlife and scenery we have witnessed along the way. Cheers!