Our first full sea day after leaving South Georgia provided us with an eclectic daily program. South Georgia had treated us to an unusually high abundance of icebergs, likely fragmented pieces of ice from the famous A-76 iceberg that broke off from the Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf in 2021. This continued as we headed south towards the South Orkney Islands. We woke to multiple tabular icebergs during breakfast. One large berg split in two, with one half rolling and causing the sea to come alive as though a sea monster was about to emerge from the depths!
In addition to a generous helping of icebergs, we have been treated to extremely kind seas so far. We had three well-attended talks in the ice lounge. First up was Gail Ashton who talked about krill in the Southern Ocean. With the help of some animated krill friends, Gail went into depth about the importance of the species to the ecosystem. Just before lunch, Captain Aaron Wood gave an informative talk about National Geographic Endurance. He held a before and after photo quiz at the end of the talk.
After another fine lunch, there was a scheduled nap. On the way to my cabin, I found a handful of guests who were rebelling against this beloved activity. (This is just my opinion, which isn’t necessarily endorsed by National Geographic/Lindblad.) Approximately ten passengers explored the artwork around the ship.
We got to explore the inner workings of the ship today, which was interesting. Afternoon tea was held in the laundry with the option to visit the Zodiac garage and engine control room. There were many interesting things to see with our knowledgeable crew on hand to explain everything in detail.
Rob Edwards gave a late afternoon talk on the cryosphere. He covered the ice in both polar regions and how it forms. He explained brinicles, icecaps, glaciers, ice shelves, and permafrost in a real “Ice 101” talk. There were many “oohs!” as he explained just how much fresh water is frozen in the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets – enough to raise global sea levels by 7 m and 58 m, respectively!
Recap featured a variety of topics. Jamie Coleman talked about the continued importance of biosecurity. As always, Stefano Pozzi brought us up to date with plans for the following day. In true expedition style, we will get up tomorrow excited to see what the day brings. For guests arriving from South America, it’s usually a day or so detour to get to the South Orkneys. The islands are far less visited than other areas around the Antarctic Peninsula. Our journey from South Georgia provides us with an ideal opportunity to do some real exploration.