Waking up on National Geographic Endurance this morning, there was a palpable sense of excitement. We looked outside, and through the mist, we could see an iceberg! And then another, and another. Some of the icebergs even had penguins on top of them! We were getting closer to Antarctica. And as we moved towards this frozen land, we were accompanied by a group of light-mantled albatrosses that circled the ship for hours.

In the morning, we were treated to a presentation from our National Geographic photographer, Nick Cobbing, and a presentation on ice from naturalist Sergei. This would come in useful later in the day!

As we neared land, the blizzard subsided, the wind dropped, and we were able to make out magnificent peaks in the distance. Antarctica!

We had made such good time across the Drake Passage that we were able to adventure out in our Zodiacs to explore the Argentine Islands for the first time this afternoon. We had incredible views of icebergs, Vernadsky Station, and, of course, penguins! What a great welcome to Antarctica!