A faint light illuminated the sea around National Geographic Resolution this morning, barely penetrating the thick fog around the South Orkney Islands. Entering the channel at the west end of Coronation Island, we pulled up alongside small Monroe Island and tentatively launched the Zodiacs. As if given a signal, the sun burned through the fog, revealing a spectacular mountainous landscape. Our zodiac cruise began, and we observed a Cape petrel and South Georgia shag in the sky above, while leopard seals hunted chinstrap penguins in the waters below.

After lunch we watched fin whales hunt krill before we set sail for South Georgia. To prepare us, historian Stephen Fisher explained the tragic history of whaling in these waters, a grim reminder of the effect man can have on these beautiful surroundings.