The extended Antarctic morning greeted us with howling winds that lapped sea spray off the waves. We abandoned our original landing at Paulet Island in favor of the leeward shore of the island. From shore and from Zodiacs, we witnessed the industrious and comical antics of thousands of Adelie penguins. The penguins seemed quite determined and busy, with no outcome apparent to most of us – perhaps not so different from humans, as one guest suggested.

In the afternoon, our Captain and Bridge Crew navigated National Geographic Explorer through “Iceberg Alley.” Under moody gray skies, many of the icebergs displayed vivid blue colors, as though emanating an inner light. Then, the day got even better. As one guest recounted, laughing, “My favorite moment of the day was when Expedition Leader Jonathan announced the sighting of a humpback whale, and it sounded like he was reporting from a Backstreet Boys concert due to all of the screaming in the background.”

Evening brought perhaps the greatest surprise of the day: sunshine.