Today we woke up in the middle of the fabled Drake Passage. Guests were introduced to our expedition staff and briefed on the guidelines we follow while operating in Antarctica. Afterwards, everyone brought down their outer garments and boots to be cleaned in preparation for our first operation in Antarctica. We were accompanied throughout the morning by the Antarctic prions and blue petrels that occasionally visited the ship.
In the afternoon, we enjoyed two wonderful lectures from our naturalist team. Nathan Kelley, certified photo instructor, gave an instructional presentation on smartphone photography, and Ben Shulman, our bird nerd, taught us about the seabirds of the Southern Ocean. Everyone is now ready to spot and identify birds. At around 59 degrees south, we spotted our first iceberg!
In the evening, we gathered in the Ice Lounge for the Captain’s Welcome Cocktail Party, and we enjoyed our first plated dinner afterwards. The chocolate caramel tart was especially delicious! National Geographic Endurance continued to slice through the waves of the Southern Ocean and bring us closer to the Antarctic continent as the day ended. We can’t wait to get there!