In the wee hours of the morning, National Geographic Endurance met the pack ice in another attempt to cross from Pine Island Bay into the open waters off the coast of Marie Byrd Land. Unfortunately, the pack ice proved to be too thick and forced us to turn back into relatively ice-free waters, allowing everyone on board to gain a few more hours of restful sleep. The stunning polar landscape littered with drifting sea ice and huge tabular icebergs created a beautiful scene for a morning Zodiac cruise.
The Zodiac cruise amongst the ice can only be described as otherworldly, peaceful, and calm. With a team of Zodiacs spread out in all directions, we were able to find an emperor penguin on sea ice and have a good look. Nearby, a few crabeater seals lounged on the ice as well.
In the afternoon, we began to retrace our steps north to find a different and ice-free path west to continue our journey around the continent and towards the Ross Sea. Before recap, undersea specialist James Hyde rocked the group on board with his knowledge of geology. To wind down the day, a friendly yet competitive game of Antarctic Trivia tested the guests’ ability to learn and perhaps the naturalists’ ability to teach!