Today National Geographic Explorer reached the White Continent! For many guests, this was their seventh and final continent. An exciting yet frigid morning greeted National Geographic Explorer and her guests in Crystal Sound. The horizon was blanketed in a carpet of dense fog, and fat and fluffy snowflakes drifted down from above. Along with dark, gray, choppy waters, this was the morning scene as the captain and his bridge staff searched for the perfect spot in Crystal Sound for the morning’s activities.

After a delicious and hearty breakfast, guests enjoyed their first Zodiac cruise among towering icebergs and a mysteriously foggy scene in Lallemand Fjord. The snow continued to fall throughout the morning, making for magical tours amongst the impressive icebergs. The first pinniped was spotted, a crabeater seal; it couldn’t be bothered to look up at us from its cozy napping spot on an ice floe. As the Zodiacs cruised toward a massive tabular iceberg, an exciting surprise awaited us: a small group of minke whales feeding amongst the ice. These whales are small, sleek, and fast. Our encounter was thrilling as the whales, uncharacteristically, surfaced over and over again just near the Zodiacs. Needless to say, we didn’t need to cruise elsewhere, as this spectacle was a rare treat. We don’t often get to spend so much time with minkes since they are usually quite elusive. What a brilliant way to start off our time in Antarctica.

After warming up and filling our bellies with a wonderful lunch prepared by the chef and his team, the group headed out once again for a second round of Zodiac cruising, this time at Detaille Island, home to Antarctic British Base W. Although the conditions did not allow for a landing, this didn’t stop the group from having a fun time exploring and checking out the array of wildlife and stunning scenery around the island. Guests were greeted by Antarctic terns, blue-eyed shags, kelp gulls, Adelie penguins, and several crabeater seals in and out of the water. Overall, our first day in Antarctica was truly special and one that all are sure to remember!