Seeing the pale cliffs and scrubland of Peninsula Valdes was a welcome sight for many after two full sea days. Although three miles out from the coast, we could still make out the large outlines of elephant seals on the shore, while distant southern right whale blows peppered the sea horizon. As we entered into Golfo Nuevo, we saw many mother and calf pairs of right whales and several pods of excited dusky dolphins. After a very popular barbeque lunch on deck (in the warm sunshine), we had the afternoon to explore Puerto Madryn, where some strolled the sandy beaches and others took a dip in the sea.
National Geographic Endurance
After nearly 4,000 nautical miles together–from sunny days on Argentinian estancias to snow showers in South Georgia to the white sand beaches of the Falklands–our three-week expedition comes to a close. Well-worn muck boots and trekking poles were cleaned for a final time and returned today, and carefully selected photos of favorite moments and new friends were submitted to the voyage slideshow. Once home, orange polar parkas will emerge from our luggage, carrying the scents and salt of the Southern Ocean. National Geographic photographer Todd Gipstein shared his approach to curating travel stories, and the natural history team provided a few last short presentations. We knew Ushuaia was just around the corner when the pilot boat came alongside National Geographic Endurance in the late afternoon, though sailing down the Beagle Channel reminded us that there are endless new and stunning locations to be visited if we take the time. During Captain Aaron Wood’s Farewell Cocktail Party, he introduced members of the ship’s crew so we could express our appreciation for their continuous hard work and cheerful energy. We reminisced about the voyage and planned future travels during our traditional Argentinian Asado feast, a fitting close to our journey along coastal South America and across the Southwest Atlantic.