Gloriously sunny skies and glassy calm waters greeted the guests of National Geographic Explorer when they were awoken early by expedition leader, Mike, to an epic encounter: emperor penguins! In the northern portion of the Weddell Sea, the ship made its way through the icy waters with the goal of locating the local emperor penguins that call this region home. Mother Nature did not disappoint. Guests took their excitement with them during morning activities near the southeastern tip of Snowhill Island, where the weekly kayaking excursion and polar plunge took place. Seventy-eight guests and crewmembers had momentary lapses in judgment as they flung themselves into below freezing water from a perfectly good ship to the amusement of the spectators who were dry and warm inside.

An afternoon landing at Snow Hill hut provided epic geology and history lessons as well as a chance for the polar plungers to stretch their frozen legs. It was hard to return to the ship on such a beautiful evening, but another incredible day awaits the guests of National Geographic Explorer tomorrow. It’s time to get some well-earned rest.