Land, ho! Today is the last day of our fantastic exploration of the Antarctic aboard National Geographic Explorer. We spent most of the day heading nearly due north across the infamous Drake Passage. Our passage was relatively calm with moderate winds and seas. In the early afternoon, we caught our first glimpse of land since leaving Antarctica a few days ago. The southernmost point of South America is the Tierra del Fuego archipelago, which marks where the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans meet. Cape Horn, part of Tierra del Fuego, marked an important point along the clipper route for trading ships in years past.
As the afternoon progressed, we entered the Beagle Channel and headed west towards the port of Ushuaia, located on the southern end of Argentine Patagonia. The Beagle Channel provided us with protection from the Southern Ocean’s swells, but it also offered us a distant view of trees, plants and soaring seabirds. Some guests even commented that they could smell vegetation on the nearby shorelines. After a recap, we passed by National Geographic Resolution as it sailed out for a new voyage.
Throughout the day, we enjoyed a variety of dynamic presentations given by the naturalist in the lounge. Some of the topics included climate change, marine mammal acoustics and plastic in the oceans. These topics gave us food for thought as we continued our journey back home. At our evening recap, Captain Yuri introduced some of the ship’s officers. In addition, we received a warm farewell from our captain who wished us “fair winds and following seas.” It has been a memorable voyage full of unique and frequent wildlife sightings, fantastic landscapes and varied weather. On behalf of all of the officers, crew and staff, it has been a true pleasure to explore with all of our guests, and we look forward to seeing you again in the near future.