Overnight, we crossed into the Southern Ocean proper: the sea surface temperature dropped from 5 to 2 degrees Celsius. The wildlife composition also changed, with a higher abundance of seabirds and marine mammals. We encountered a large group of long-finned pilot whales before the fog thickened and prevented us from finding wildlife.
National Geographic Explorer
An early wakeup call from the expedition leader was appreciated by the guests who bundled up and headed outside for our transit through the Lemaire Channel. The narrow channel, towered over by snow-capped mountains, is one of the most picturesque places in Antarctica. After safely navigating our way through, thanks to the bridge team, we enjoyed breakfast as we arrived at Petermann Island. Guests had the opportunity to land and visit the gentoo and Adelie penguin colonies; we also had a Zodiac cruise around the island where impressive ice sculptures were grounded. On the Zodiac cruise, we saw numerous Weddell seals hauled out — but the stars of the show were the porpoising gentoo penguins, leaping out of the water as they travelled speedily back to land. Our journey then took us northbound, back through the Lemaire Channel, while conditions continued to improve with blue skies and calm seas. It made a perfect farewell to our time in Antarctica. Now we steam north into Drake’s Passage with our hearts full of memories and a mountain of images to sort through and share with friends and family.