As National Geographic Resolution crept along the east side of the Antarctic Peninsula, we had an unplanned but most welcome early morning wakeup call from fearless expedition leader, Sheri Bluestein. Humpback whales were spotted right ahead of us! Guests and staff alike threw on clothes and ventured to the outer decks, to the bow, and to the bridge to witness these beautiful creatures. As we all watched in awe, fin whales were spotted not far in the distance. We got to witness the second largest mammal on the planet! There were two swimming around, showing off their endless submarine-like bodies and sickle-shaped dorsal fins. With the clock ticking on our morning, we all rushed off to breakfast to fuel up for the day ahead.

Our morning adventure was not for the faint of heart. We had arrived at Devil Island! Did last night’s visit to the Danger Islands prepare us to meet Devil Island? We were about to find out. Over 90 guests ventured to shore to attempt to climb to the top of one of the devil horns. Over one mile in length with an elevation gain of 260 feet, this was heaven on earth for some. Clear blue skies and sunshine encouraged us up to the top with the reward of amazing views of Cape Well-met on Vega Island. Some of us chose to walk along the beach and make images with the encouragement of our National Geographic photographer, Dan Westergren. And a few others opted for a crisp Zodiac cruise around some impressive icebergs. It certainly was an amazing morning.

We spent the afternoon cruising the Antarctic Sound. Our blue skies and sunny weather took a turn but only enough to create a scenic, stormy Antarctic mood. Certified photo instructor Nathan Kelley gave a presentation on tips and tricks for better photography that will be utilized for the rest of the trip, no doubt! As if they knew what was on the schedule, killer whales showed up just off the bow of the ship and gave us a short viewing. The ship slowed down to allow good, long looks, but the whales weren’t too interested in an extended performance. They moved along just in time for whale expert Ella Potts to present “Where the Whales Go,” an interesting talk about the whales of the Southern Ocean and why they are here.

We ended our day with cocktails, great conversation, and an extended recap from the Expedition Team that covered some information about tabular icebergs, Adelie penguins, and the story of the Nordenskjold expedition. This trip is truly off to a great start. What a time to be alive!