Today began in a gloom as we approached the Antarctic Convergence and sailed across the Drake Passage for the second time this voyage. A few majestic wandering albatross, an assortment of petrels, and even some enormous spouts greeted National Geographic Explorer across the horizon—those spouts representing a handful of the elusive fin whales of the Southern Ocean.

Anticipation grew as we neared the polar front. Our knowledgeable Expedition Team contributed to these invigorating emotions by laying out an array of presentations on topics such as oceanography, geology, and the charismatic penguins that we may be finding along our journey around the Southern Ocean.

We checked our gear and boots for any pesky invaders looking to pioneer new lands. After we were all declared ‘bio-secure,’ it was one-step closer to game time.

During recap, our fearless leader Peter briefed us on our early start and exciting day tomorrow. Phil taught us about whales and why they feed in the regions they do, followed by Jim giving us a run-down on linguistics, and how to properly use certain words in the field.

Dinner was fabulous (per usual) and our ship was yet again accompanied by large spouts on either side of her. It was a magical way to end a beautiful day, sailing towards the adventure of a lifetime.