Today we reached the halfway point on our journey to South Georgia. Our track is taking us along the northern edge of the Scotia Sea, and we have been fortunate to see many seabirds as we travel. We have been even more fortunate to have relatively calm conditions.

We used today to prepare our minds and our gear for arrival. Historian Carol Knott gave an overview of South Georgia history this morning, including Captain Cook’s first pronouncement that the interior of the island was “savage and horrible” when he arrived—with his British flag—in 1775.

Alex Krowiak and Camille Seaman, our photography team, then provided many photo tips specifically for smartphones, which seem to be the camera of choice these days.

We dedicated the afternoon to the mandatory South Georgia briefing and the decontamination of boots, clothing, and backpacks. We perform the process during each voyage in an effort to keep invasive species out of this fragile ecosystem. Our expedition leader, Lucho Verdesoto, likes to call it the Decontamination Party so we can all have a bit of fun while we scrub and vacuum each other’s gear.

When we learn about the explorers, sealers, and whalers who came here under difficult conditions, we have an opportunity to appreciate the comfort of National Geographic Explorer. Banana pancakes for breakfast, tacos for lunch, tea time, cocktail hour, and several choice dishes to choose from for dinner.

We can get used to this.