We spent our morning traversing Orleans Strait along the Trinity Peninsula. We looked for wildlife and appreciated stunning views of icebergs and glacier-capped mountains. We sailed south until we arrived at Cierva Cove, a beautiful bay full of ice and wildlife. The clouds broke around lunch, revealing a brilliantly sunny afternoon. We explored the outer reaches of Cierva Cove by Zodiac, where we encountered minke and humpback whales, leopard and crabeater seals, and chinstrap and gentoo penguins. Once back aboard National Geographic Explorer, we pushed farther up into the thick ice near the face of the glacier and took in the stunning views of the surrounding peaks. After a few drinks and dinner, we headed farther south through Gerlache Strait, watching distant humpback whales spouting under the sunset.
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.