Tonight we enjoyed an exciting final encounter with the Antarctic coastline and some of its most iconic wildlife–type B2 killer whales!–before transiting to the waters that define the White Continent. All on board National Geographic Endurance enjoyed spending time on the bridge and open decks. We spotted Southern Ocean seabirds, such as pintado petrels and southern royal albatrosses, as they glided in the sunshine and salt spray! Seabird spotting sessions were squeezed in between a full schedule of presentations by the naturalists that offered guests a closer look at some of the subjects we have encountered during our expedition, including krill, ocean currents, and geologic processes. We may be leaving Antarctica behind, but the moments we have shared, the questions we have been inspired to ask, and the conversations we have started during our time exploring this vast wilderness will stay with us as we continue our journey back north and beyond!
National Geographic Explorer
Today was quite busy with many interesting presentations. In the morning, geologist Serguei Ponomarenko spoke about the geological history of Antarctica. Before glaciation wiped out thousands of species of the animals and plants that used to be here, Antarctica was once connected to Australia, and much earlier, it was connected to Africa, Madagascar, India, and South America. Later, Gerard Baker spoke about conservation efforts in the Southern Ocean. After lunch, National Geographic photographer Michaela Skovranova instructed guests on live editing of photographs, an essential skill after a memorable trip. The last activity before dinner was an Antarctica quiz. In the late afternoon, National Geographic Explorer entered the Beagle Channel. Almost immediately, the wind subsided, and the sky cleared. Guests enjoyed the spectacular scenery on the Chilean and Argentinian sides of the channel. After dinner, the ship docked in Ushuaia, and guests had an opportunity to spend a few late evening hours in this most southern town in the world.