The entrance to the Weddell Sea was surprisingly clear of ice for a visit this early in the season, and we fully took advantage of the opportunity to sail well south of what is normally possible at this time of the year. When we finally found the fast ice, south of Snow Hill Island, we sighted what we were looking for. Scattered here and there were groups of emperor penguins, from the only colony known in this section of Antarctica. But the best was yet to come. By the end of the day the wind died down completely and we found sea ice that was firm enough for us to walk on. Within minutes, a group of raucous emperor penguins found us and approached for a memorable encounter with these near mythical birds!
National Geographic Explorer
A common misconception of an expedition is that the final day is no fun. This is certainly not the case when traveling on board National Geographic Explorer . Following a night sailing through the Drake Passage, our last morning at sea offered time to review photos collected on our journey. A highlight of today was getting to see the preview of this trip’s video chronicle, created by our video chronicler, Steve Ewing. A longstanding program on board, it added value to our travel experience by enhancing the long-lasting memories we take home of our voyage. It often feels surreal to reflect on all the amazing things we’ve been fortunate to see and do in such a short time exploring these places! Between presentations from our natural history staff team about Southern Ocean Marine Conservation and the Swedish Antarctic Expedition, our hotel team treated us to a wonderful BBQ tea (or beer!) time on the back deck as we entered the calm and sunny waters of the Beagle Channel. Before long, it was time to don our best shoes for our Captain’s Farewell Cocktail Party to watch the premiere of the guest slideshow and celebrate all the amazing crew that work on board National Geographic Explorer . Cheers to a trip full of lifetime memories!