Our second day in the spectacular polar wilderness of Marguerite Bay took us to the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula along its inner, eastern shore. Here, surrounded by jagged peaks reaching up vertically from the icy waters, we found the soaring promontory of pink granite known as Red Rock Ridge and went ashore among the Adelie penguins nesting at its base. The breeding season of the penguins is in full swing with large, fat chicks in the nests and adults busily coming and going with a constant supply of tasty krill. Later in the afternoon, we cruised into nearby Neny Fjord, where we found dozens of crabeater seals and had a glimpse of an emperor penguin far out across the fast ice.
National Geographic Endurance
This morning there is once again water as far as the eye can see, and the Drake Passage has not lived up to its intimidating reputation. The sun came out in glorious form and we watched it paint the tops of the waves with orange light. Land Ho! South America has been spotted. Soon the green covered hills of Tierra Del Fuego were clearly seen. Gone are the ice-covered hills, the glaciers, and tabular icebergs. Before us are trees, sea birds, and hints of a town. Black-browed albatross and blue-eyed shags guide us toward the tip of South America as if to help us transition from the life we have lived these past weeks back to the lives we previously knew. How to share what we just experienced with those we love who have not been a part of it is a quandary we all face. How many of our photos do we share to convey the magic? Will anyone honestly understand how we felt being there? Will anyone notice that we have been deeply changed by this past month in Antarctica? And the question that we all ask ourselves, will we be able to keep this experience close to our hearts? “Dolphin!”, someone cries out. Our inner thoughts disappear as Peale’s dolphins bow ride our ship. Then the blows of sei whales are seen and we spend the rest of the afternoon watching their sharp dorsal fins cut the surface of the sea. The ship moves on as life moves on. Our trip is coming to an end. The Beagle channel opens its arms and welcomes us back. Fair winds and following seas fellow travelers.