This morning, we were woken up at 5:00 a.m. Over the intercom, our expedition leader’s calm voice let us know that over thirty killer whales were surfacing around the boat. Weary-eyed and full of wonder, we all watched in the absolute stillness of the morning as over five groups of killer whales hunted and frolicked around the bay. Some chased penguins, and others seemed to be enjoying family time with their youngsters. After breakfast, we went ashore on Devil Island to enjoy an Adelie penguin colony amidst the bergs. Some of us hiked up the ridgeline, and some of us stayed along the beach. We were all treated to lots of calving icebergs as the tide continued to lower throughout our morning operations. In the afternoon, we set foot on the peninsula proper and explored Bald Head. Many Weddell seals and gentoo penguins frolicked on the beach while we hiked over the hill to the overlook. Along the hike, we found two mummified seal carcasses and stopped to admire their amazing teeth, which have adapted for eating krill.
National Geographic Resolution
National Geographic Resolution had calm waters and wind coming from the stern as we crossed the Drake Passage today. We enjoyed a full day of informative presentations and events. We started the day with one of our naturalists, Sue Forbes, presenting on the seabirds of the Southern Ocean. She entitled her presentation, “Wingspans, Courtship and Stomach Oils!” Sue showed a fun video of an albatross flipping over while trying to land in front of its chick…embarrassing! Even with the calm seas, we spotted quite a few seabirds flying around the ship, including the majestic southern royal albatross. We have been so busy with fun landings, and today we finally had time for Jackie Windh’s excellent presentation on, “Natives of Patagonia.” One of the important things about going to the Antarctic is learning all about how we can protect this pristine place. We watched a few videos on rules for approaching wildlife and regulations for keeping our gear clean. We had a vacuuming party down in base camp, and we got all our outer clothing inspected and cleaned as necessary. Everyone has settled into life on board, so it was time for Captain Martin Graser to educate us about the build of National Geographic Resolution and all the features and capabilities of this amazing ship. The day wasn’t over yet. After dinner, the photo team, led by Jeff Litton, did a photo critique of images that guests submitted. We had some fun getting feedback on a variety of styles and images. The longest day on the solstice was certainly packed, but we are heading south and will encounter even longer days ahead.