The first part of any expedition to Antarctica is, of course, the infamous Drake Passage. Long known for some of the worst seas in the world, many guests wonder what it will be like when we cross it. All and all, our crossing was fairly average. There is a bright side to a windy crossing, and that is birds. This is the Southern Ocean, home to the masters of long distant flight, the albatross. By the end of breakfast, we had spotted four species. Mostly, we observed light-mantled albatrosses. One species rather rare to this area, the Atlantic yellow-nosed albatross, was also spotted. This was a very special bird for a very special first day.
National Geographic Resolution
The huge distances we have covered on this journey meant that our last full day was spent almost completely at sea on our return leg from Antarctica. After a merciful lie-in, we crowded the decks as we sailed past Cape Horn, the majestic headland at the bottom tip of Hornos Island, the southernmost point of Tierra del Fuego and the entire South American continent. Despite its fearsome reputation, pleasant seas allowed for an enjoyable brunch before we plunged into our presentation schedule for the morning and afternoon. Naturalist Gail Ashton related her experience of living on the Antarctica continent for 18 months, Jonny Reid discussed marine mammal acoustics and the underwater soundscapes of this region, and Jess Farrer explained how the study of whale and seal poop can tell us so much about these animals. As we entered the Beagle Channel, the stunning mountains of Tierra del Fuego lined our passage to Ushuaia. Gathering in the Ice Lounge for the captain’s farewell party, we toasted a hugely enjoyable trip and the new friends we have made.