This morning National Geographic Resolution awoke to calm seas as we make our way across the Drake Passage. Traveling 670 nautical miles from Ushuaia to our first landing on the Antarctic Peninsula, we enjoyed sleeping in and a relaxed day at sea.
After lunch, we crossed the Antarctic Convergence (also known as the polar front), officially entering the biological boundary of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. A zone approximately 20-30 miles wide, the convergence defines the separation of the cold surface waters to the south from the warmer waters to the north. Located between 48 and 61 degrees South, the exact position at any given place is defined by this sudden drop in sea water temperature, on average 2.8C to 5.6C, to below 2C. By noon the temperature of the water was down to 1C (33.8F). The Southern Ocean is rich in nutrients, and today we have seen a fin whale, numerous blows from distant whales, and lots of different seabirds, including four species of albatross.
In the afternoon, we enjoyed a talk on sea birds and cleaned our gear for our first landing on the white continent. The excitement grows by the hour as we make our approach across the Drake towards the Antarctic Peninsula.