One thing that often comes to mind when thinking about Antarctica, is that it is considered an inhospitable place. Indeed, our experiences today reminded us of the challenges involved in exploring this white continent. Yet, how lucky we are to visit with the aid of modern technology and the comfort of a ship such as National Geographic Explorer!

During our morning passage of the Lemaire Channel, the low visibility offered occasional glimpses of the famous landscape, but thanks to GPS and expert navigation from our bridge team, our experience was surely much different than that of the early explorers that mapped this region. With the outer decks of the ship blanketed with fresh snow, it wasn’t long before the first snowballs were thrown, and snowmen were built!

Later in the morning, our warm parkas and a team effort were essential to making a landing at Booth Island to visit the local gentoo penguin colony. Here, we had an incredible opportunity to appreciate the conditions that these unique birds thrive in. We may not be penguins perfectly evolved for the wild Antarctic, but we do have a warm ship to return to after our excursions in the snow. As we made our way back north along the western Antarctic Peninsula, we were treated to excellent presentations about Antarctic ice and penguins by our naturalists, eager to see much, much more of both over the coming days.