We left the West Falklands yesterday evening and made good speed over the Patagonian Shelf towards our origin and finale to this amazing voyage: Ushuaia, Argentina. The National Geographic Endurance made quick work of the 250 miles, and we woke in the morning heading towards the Strait of LeMaire, the passage between Isla de los Estados (appearing on our port side) and the Mitre Peninsula (on starboard) of Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego. We had calmer seas than usual for this region and passed easily into the Beagle Channel by mid-afternoon. Sea days provide a bit of time to reflect on our recent journey, but the day was also filled with informative presentations on our current understanding of climate change and the human-controlled processes which influence, and may mitigate its impacts, as well as the necessary preparations we must take for our onward travels home.
National Geographic Resolution
Any true voyage contains the element of return. As we approached South America, we reflected on our voyage thus far. Nearly three weeks ago, we cast our lines from Ushuaia and sailed towards the seventh continent. We saw corners of the world privy only to a few…truly special experiences that we will hold close for our lifetimes. Seabirds circled the ship, coming in and out of our wake to pay visits. These beautiful animals wander the ocean. They are at home at sea, an alien concept to us terrestrial animals. As the day progressed, the landscape began to unravel. Snowy peaks in the distance eventually gave way to a forested landscape, quite a shock as we had not seen proper trees in weeks! For our final wildlife encounter, we spent time with a group of killer whales. Our incredible ship and bridge team allowed close and personal views of these amazing animals. Aboard the ship, we hosted presentations with topics on photography and how to take observations from our voyage and share them with the scientific community. The hotel department pampered us with delicious treats. Our much-anticipated auction was a lively hit, raising money for our crew fund and conservation on South Georgia. In the afternoon, we met our pilots on the eastern edge of the Beagle Channel. Under their guidance, we will be dockside in a few hours, the same location we departed from three weeks ago. It feels like a lifetime has passed, bursting with countless memories. Memories we look forward to taking home with us and sharing with our loved ones and the world.