We woke this morning to the announcement that we were the southernmost passenger vessel in the world at a hundred miles into the Antarctic Circle. Nearly fifty of us walked south from a landing at Red Rocks Ridge in Marguerite Bay, located farther south on the Antarctic continent.

Fractured granite, once part of a 2400-foot-tall peak to the west, littered the path through a stone gunsight of a pass, challenging our balance and keeping all alert.

When we crested the pass, we were met with the cacophony of an Adelie colony—scores of googly-eyed, muppet-like penguins—some sitting on sky blue eggs, others carrying rocks stolen from neighbors to outline their own nests, and still others hopping rocks to and from the sea a few meters away.

After a visit with the penguins, the most intrepid of the bunch climbed a peak for views across a mirrored bay scattered with icebergs and surrounded by jagged peaks, blue ice, and white snow. By the time we made it back to the ship for a late lunch, the day felt full, but we were just beginning…