This morning’s cruise over the dark, fathomless waters began with the first sight of land since leaving the Antarctic Peninsula two days ago. The Drake eased its fury, and we enjoyed watching Cape Horn come into view gradually, its crags and peaks black against the bright clouds behind. The sun streamed through in constantly moving patterns, and in the stiff breeze, albatrosses, shearwaters, petrels, and skuas played in great numbers, entirely at ease in the seas that have claimed so many ships.
With the sight of these animals fresh in our minds, it was a good time to look more closely at the lives they lead and the challenges they are dealing with as their environment changes. Jamie gave a lecture on the risks threatening these seabirds and their habitats. In the afternoon, Maya followed up on this theme of ocean health with a presentation that addressed the impacts of the Southern Ocean fishery.
The end of the voyage approached, and matters of practicality had to be attended to, with gear returns and final checks for rented equipment. These last steps were a reminder of what we were leaving behind, an incredible place that we had the rare opportunity to experience. Alex gave us a briefing on disembarkation and travel logistics, making sure everyone was ready for the next part of the voyage.
All was not business, however–we took time for fun, too! Swedish pancakes for tea and a game of Antarctic Jeopardy made for a fine afternoon as we cruised up the Beagle Channel. With evening cocktails topped off by the Captain’s Farewell, and a wave to all the crew, the voyage came to a close on a high note.