We spent the morning sailing across the last of the Drake Passage in anticipation of our arrival to the South Shetland Islands. Naturalists and guests spent a good part of the early morning eagerly looking for wildlife from the bridge. We got lucky with sightings of hourglass dolphins, royal albatrosses and sooty shearwaters. Around midmorning, naturalist Steve offered a presentation on the seabirds of the Southern Ocean. Outside the lounge’s windows, large black-browed albatrosses demonstrated their gliding flight technique.
Right after lunch, our first landing of the expedition took place on Livingston Island. We disembarked in the middle of a thick bank of fog. Zodiacs took us to Hanna Point, a place buzzing with activity. We observed a colony of gentoo penguins and a few chinstrap penguins. We also spotted giant petrels nesting on top of the rocks, Wilson’s petrels flying along the surface of the water, elephant seals resting on the beach and a couple of leopard seals feeding right by the landing site. While some of us took time to observe the dynamics of the colony, others went to the adjacent bay to admire the geology of the place. Two whale skeletons were spotted on the beach, and a few penguins came and went. Suddenly, the fog lifted. With great surprise, we realized that a huge glacier rested right beside us! It was the perfect first day of exploration, full of surprises and wonder in this extraordinary part of the world.