An early wakeup call found National Geographic Resolution sailing into the Lemaire Channel, a narrow passage between the towering, glacier-draped mountains on the west side of the Antarctic Peninsula. The Lemaire is always beautiful, but the bright sunshine and still conditions were unusual and saw the mountains and glaciers reflected in the sea.

Icebergs and bergy bits dotted the channel, some freshly calved, and others rounded and rolled by their time in the water. As if the scenery was not enough, we were treated to the sight of humpback whales feeding in the channel as we made our way south.

As we finished breakfast, National Geographic Resolution arrived at Petermann Island, site of an Argentinian shelter and memorial to three British researchers who were lost while hiking in the area. The island is also the summer home to a colony of gentoo and Adelie penguins whose eggs are starting to hatch. Half the guests went ashore to hike while the other half cruised along the shore in Zodiacs. Both groups saw thousands of penguins along with seals and cormorants in one of the most spectacular settings in Antarctica.

Lunch found the ship anchored at Pleneau Island, and we enjoyed a barbecue on the deck in the sunshine. After lunch, we boarded Zodiacs to cruise among the towering icebergs in the nearby iceberg graveyard. As the afternoon wore on, the sky grew darker, but gaps in the clouds allowed the sun to spotlight individual icebergs.

After dinner, we headed back into the Lemaire to see what we might find.