What a day! Brown Bluff is an extraordinary place. As we cruised toward the shore, we noted black and white movement—small forms walking up hills and shooting out of the water onto land. Adelie penguins and their chicks! These penguins live along the coast of Antarctica, and they have distinctive white rings around their eyes. We also observed gentoo penguins with their chicks. Gentoos are stockier, distinguishable by the bold white band between their eyes and over their heads. Excitement filled us as the penguins wandered past to carry out their duties during an eventful austral summer in Antarctica.
National Geographic Explorer
Some motivations are better than others to rise early, and today's was undoubtedly significant: we were going to sail through the Lemaire Channel, the most photogenic seven miles of the Antarctic Peninsula. Starting at 6:00 AM, the coffee machine kicked into high gear, catering to the needs of those who didn't want to miss the show. The weather also decided to join the party, and the snow that fell overnight gradually gave way to a radiant sun that accompanied us for the rest of the day. Of course, Lemaire didn't leave anyone indifferent, but the day had only just begun. After breakfast, we set up the morning operation: Port Charcot on Booth Island. The snow was compact, and half of the guests hiked up to the cairn at the top of the mountain overviewing the penguin colony and the whole bay. The other half of the group took a Zodiac cruise across the iceberg graveyard on a completely summery day. After lunch, we sailed through Lemaire in the opposite direction just to meet National Geographic Resolution under the shadow of Una Peaks. Emotional greetings and messages of affection echoed from ship to ship. Days are intense here in Antarctica, and after a lecture on climate change, there was still time for 54 of our bravest guests to take a polar plunge in the frosty waters of a bay surrounded by icebergs and glaciers. A diverse Filipino dinner preceded a concert by the trendiest group aboard National Geographic Explorer. There will be time to sleep when we get home.