After an amazing time exploring the Antarctic Peninsula, we awoke on the final day of our journey to blue skies and wonderfully calm seas as we neared the end of the infamous Drake Passage. Right out of the gates in the morning, Naturalist Madalena Patacho told us the story of Magellan, before our attention was drawn to the slight detour we had made to sail by Cape Horn. As we made our way towards the Beagle Channel, we enjoyed views of Peale’s dolphins riding the X-bow of the National Geographic Endurance. Soon after lunch, the fresh breeze beckoned us outside again to appreciate the smell of earth and trees as we made our way back into the southern tip of South America, just in time to listen to naturalist Conor Ryan give a talk on “The Smell of the Sea.” Several species of seabirds – from albatross to petrels and penguins – and views of sei whales were seen around the ship in the afternoon. We finally rounded out our last day on board this magnificent ship with the world premiere of the Guest Slideshow, before celebrating our experience over the last 10 days at Captain Aaron Woods’ farewell cocktail party.
National Geographic Resolution
The passengers and crew of National Geographic Resolution started their day surrounded by stunning scenery just south of the Lemaire Channel. We were very close to the Ukraine Research Station, Vernadsky. As we sailed on steadily, passengers were treated to a lecture about snow algae and its effect on the snow and ice of Antarctica by Alia Kahn, our visiting scientist. A short while later, Jim Coyer offered some very interesting insights into krill, which is literally the foundation of the Antarctic life cycle. After lunch, we arrived at Prospect Point at the southern end of the Penola Strait. Zodiacs were lowered, and guests were treated to a wonderfully serene, peaceful cruise amongst ice floes and huge icebergs of various shapes. The sheer majesty of the scenery of the Antarctic Peninsula rarely fails to move us and engage all our senses. Back on board, undersea specialist and naturalist Tanish Peelgrane provided guests with the opportunity to show off their artistic talents with watercolors. This yielded many wonderful interpretations of the afternoon’s experiences. As one more exceptional day draws to an end, we look forward to seeing what delights tomorrow brings.