A chilly Antarctic morning started our day, and a light breeze rippled the sea surface.as we steamed northeastward off the Graham Coast. National Geographic Resolution was making way for the famous Lemaire Channel after spending two wonderful days in Marguerite Bay.
After breakfast guests and field staff came on deck to take in the breathtaking view of the mountain peaks of the Antarctic Peninsula as we neared the coast, and the first chunks of brash ice appeared. A pod of humpback whales engaged in surface feeding on Antarctic krill off the port side as the ship slowed for safe navigation. Soon, we were surrounded by large floes and thick, brash ice as we approached Lemaire Channel. The sky was clear and blue, and the wind was less than 10 knots providing ideal sea conditions.
The Lemaire Channel is a very narrow and often ice-filled channel, and a passage through is a highlight of any Antarctic voyage. A leopard seal and a small crabeater seal shared the same ice floe watching us as we entered the channel. Captain Martin Grasser and his team of experienced officers gently and prudently navigate the ice-filled passage. Guests on all outside decks watched the skill of the captain at the helm. It took some time to complete the passage as the ice was quite thick. We even met a two-masted schooner on her way to the south in the middle of the route and guests waved as we passed the yacht to our port side. There was absolutely no wind, and the reflections of the surrounding peaks kept the photographers on board filling their sim cards.
After the exciting transit of the Lemaire Channel we arrived in the late afternoon to Andvord Bay, a stunning fjord off the Gerlache Strait. Neko Harbour is a point of land sticking out into the bay next to an impressive glacier. After getting to shore on Zodiacs, our guests enjoyed a hike to the gentoo colony located at Neko Harbour, getting a bit of exercise before dinner aboard the ship. We have enjoyed splendid weather the past days and all are eager to see what tomorrow bring on this Antarctic Expedition.