This morning, the intrepid explorers sailing on National Geographic Endurance awoke to stunning views of icebergs as the ship made its way towards the remote and rarely visited Danger Islands. Discovered in 1842, this group of islands is located off the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. The islands were given their name by Sir James Clark Ross because they remained almost completely concealed by heavy fragments of ice until ships were nearly upon them. However, it is not the danger that draws our adventurers to this place, but rather the estimated 750,000 nesting pairs of Adelie penguins that call the islands home.
Venturing out on a fleet of Zodiacs, the adventurers explored Heroina Island, where they experienced many wildlife encounters. Adelie penguins lined the shores and filled the waters, sprinkled with a gentoo or two, immersing the fleet in masses of black and white. Weddell seals mulled about lazily onshore, while a leopard seal or two patrolled the waters looking for their next meal. Not to be outdone, humpback whales made an appearance, delighting the explorers with their massive size, grace, and majesty.
In the afternoon, the explorers made their first landing in Antarctica at Tay Head on Joinville Island. They ventured out and discovered the wild landscape, encountering more penguins, seals, and seabirds along the way. While adventures were afoot on land, the undersea team explored the icy depths of the surrounding waters.