Today aboard National Geographic Endurance, we cruised to our first destination of the day, Astrolabe Island, for a Zodiac cruise. The island is home to over 3,400 pairs of chinstrap penguins and hundreds of Antarctic shags. Everyone was excited to find that Adelie and gentoo penguins could also be spotted, along with Weddell and crabeater seals. An arched iceberg was seen in the distance, and Captain Aaron Wood maneuvered National Geographic Endurance so everyone could get a closer look at this stunning piece of ice. Fortunately, our exploration of Astrolabe Island was completed just in time, as the winds started to pick up, making for a spotty return to the ship. Unfortunately, the winds altered the afternoon plans, but thanks to the amazing initiative of Expedition Leader Andy Wolff, we were able to visit Whalers Bay. After walking around the historic whaling station, everyone made it back to the ship just in time for cocktail hour and recap, where our Global Explorers presented the undersea video they took using the remote operated vehicle (ROV). And last, but certainly not least, the ship celebrated three birthdays at dinner, including Naturalist/Photo Instructor Jim Pfitzer!
National Geographic Resolution
The huge distances we have covered on this journey meant that our last full day was spent almost completely at sea on our return leg from Antarctica. After a merciful lie-in, we crowded the decks as we sailed past Cape Horn, the majestic headland at the bottom tip of Hornos Island, the southernmost point of Tierra del Fuego and the entire South American continent. Despite its fearsome reputation, pleasant seas allowed for an enjoyable brunch before we plunged into our presentation schedule for the morning and afternoon. Naturalist Gail Ashton related her experience of living on the Antarctica continent for 18 months, Jonny Reid discussed marine mammal acoustics and the underwater soundscapes of this region, and Jess Farrer explained how the study of whale and seal poop can tell us so much about these animals. As we entered the Beagle Channel, the stunning mountains of Tierra del Fuego lined our passage to Ushuaia. Gathering in the Ice Lounge for the captain’s farewell party, we toasted a hugely enjoyable trip and the new friends we have made.