Our final day in Antarctica would prove to be a fitting exclamation point to an already hugely successful and fulfilling journey to the White Continent. Today we explored Cape Adare, a prominent wedge of black basalt forming the north-easternmost point of Victoria Land in east Antarctica. Of particular interest is the historical site that contains the hut used by the Southern Cross Expedition in 1899, the first structure built in Antarctica and the site of the first overwintering party. Also in the same general location are the remains of the 1911-12 Terra Nova Expedition’s northern party overwintering hut. This site, along with other historical huts in the Ross Sea area, have been methodically restored and maintained by the Antarctic Heritage Trust-New Zealand.

Due to ice and swell conditions, we were unable to make a landing attempt here, however that didn’t deter us from taking in this remarkable place. Dominating the entire area, both in the water and on land, were over one million Adelie penguins that make Cape Adare their home for the short breeding season. The waters teamed with tens of thousands of Adelie penguins making their way to and from the shore. Nearly every piece of sea and glacial ice was covered in birds and the whole of the cape and the steep rising cliffs above were carpeted with nesting penguins. It was a spectacle that neither words nor images could completely capture.

We explored the shore and surrounding waters by both Zodiacs and kayaks, leaving everyone in awe at the magnitude of life present here.

Later in the evening we held an on-board live auction to help raise funds for the Antarctic Heritage Trust. The auction was a huge success, with many guests giving generously to support the continued work of preserving this region’s history and educating generations to come.