From the National Geographic Explorer in the Falklands
Nov 10, 2012 - National Geographic Explorer
At Sea, Southern Atlantic Ocean
After our long journey by air to the far south of South America, it’s wonderful to enjoy a relaxing day at sea getting to know the ship, and each other.
As we sail eastward toward the Falkland Islands, the excitement builds with each passing hour. Ultimately bound for the white continent of Antarctica, the Falkland Islands and South Georgia act like stepping stones along the way, shards of ancient continents cast adrift in the Southern Ocean by plate tectonics. This stretch of water can be some of the stormiest found anywhere on the globe, but National Geographic Explorer handles the rolling seas with ease.
A day at sea is far from being “down time.” Although we spend part of the day relaxing in our bunks and getting organized, we attend a variety of briefings and presentations to help prepare us for the adventurous days ahead. And there is also a lot to see out on deck.
The seabirds soaring above the waves challenge birders and photographers. Sightings include giant and pintado petrels, black-browed albatross, a variety of shearwaters and storm petrels, and occasionally the most magnificent of all, the giant wandering and royal albatross seen only at a distance. Peale’s and hourglass dolphins also make brief appearances, then are gone, disappearing into the waves.
Capping it all off, a brilliant sunset portends good weather for the days ahead. As the saying goes, “red sky at night, sailors delight.” The gentle swells rock us to sleep.