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Drake Passage

And we are off!  Yesterday, we boarded National Geographic Orion in Ushuaia and set sail on this epic journey to Antarctica, South Georgia Island, and the Falklands. We traveled down the Beagle Channel and somewhere last night we entered the southern ocean. The Drake Passage, a body of water known for its rough seas, was placid. We awoke this morning to gentle winds and calm seas as we headed south. Throughout the day, we kept a continual watch for seabirds. Read More>

Jan 28, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Antarctica

Cape Horn & Beagle Channel

Sunshine over calm seas began our last day aboard National Geographic Orion. She has become home. We have grown accustomed to our days being filled with adventures among penguins and icebergs. Today the albatross circle our ship. Black-browed and gray-headed albatross use the winds we create to help their dynamic soaring. Our undersea specialists, Justin and Erin gave a presentation titled, “I can’t Feel My Hands. Read More>

Jan 26, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Antarctica

Homeward Bound – The Drake Passage

Having enjoyed the glorious Antarctic sunshine late into the night, this morning was a leisurely start as National Geographic Orion sailed north across the Drake Passage through a gentle swell. Being a Sunday, the leisurely start seemed fitting and instead of an early breakfast we were treated to Sunday brunch. Once we were awake and with full thanks to our coffee and omelettes, it was time to enjoy a day at sea as we pleased. Read More>

Jan 25, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Antarctica

Port Lockroy and Lapavere Bay

In the early morning the ship anchored at Port Lockroy, Goudier Island, the rebuilt and refurbished British Antarctic Survey base dating from the days of Operation Taberin in 1944. This is now one of the most popular landing sites on the Peninsula. The day was overcast with a cold wind from the southwest. While half the guests visited the well-stocked post office and shop, the base was very popular with its profits going towards the Antarctic Heritage Trust’s fund to conserve the numerous monuments and buildings on the Peninsula. Read More>

Jan 24, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Antarctica

Vernadsky Station

After a spectacular time walking on the fast ice last night we all needed a relaxing start this morning. After a hearty breakfast, expedition staff member Mary-Lou gave an interesting presentation entitled: “The Many Dimensions of Ice.” She educated us on the many ice formations we have been seeing during the expedition and what changes have occurred over the past few decades to Antarctica’s glaciers. Later in the morning the photographic team took the stage and gave us another fascinating lecture on how to best use our cameras to capture this remarkable landscape and the plethora of animals that we have been encountering every day. Read More>

Jan 23, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Antarctica

Antarctic Circle and Crystal Sound, Antarctica

South. South. South. This morning National Geographic Orion navigates south through the ice along the Antarctic Peninsula toward the Antarctic Circle. This imaginary line of latitude lies at 66.5˚ south of the equator where, because the Earth is titled on its axis, the southern polar region is bathed in 24 hours of sunlight at the austral summer solstice. With the extreme ice conditions this time of year, it was a gamble to push this far south, but in full expedition mode the rewards are great. The first reward was beer and hot dogs served on the café deck as we crossed the circle. Read More>

Jan 22, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Antarctica

Neko Harbour

This morning we awoke in the stunning and still surroundings of Neko Harbour. The strong winds that were buffeting the more exposed regions of the Peninsula were dampened here, the stately mountaintops and dusky snow clouds enveloping National Geographic Orion as we disembarked and jumped into the Zodiacs ready to be shuttled the short distance to shore.   A familiar welcome party of Gentoo penguins were on shore, strewn out along the narrow pebble beach and zipping through the shallow waters. Read More>

Jan 21, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Antarctica

Cuverville Island and Paradise Harbor, Antarctica

Shrouded in low, snowy clouds, the South Shetland Islands of yesterday were a tease for what would happen this morning. Many of us slept fitfully throughout the morning as the Gerlache Strait lined up to the morning’s windy roll call. Peering through the curtains of our port lights and windows was a wonderful golden glow, a reminder to the weary that you can sleep on the flight home. Now was the time to rise. With the strong winds came crystal clear skies and unimaginable forms painted in warm light. At the polar latitudes golden moments are stretched amongst hours, affording even the bleary-eyed a chance at capturing stunning images. Finding shelter in the beautiful Errera Channel, we anchored off dome-shaped Cuverville Island. Read More>

Jan 20, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Antarctica

Drake Passage and Aitcho Island

Today was the day that many of us have been excited about for a very long time. We crossed the Drake Passage and arrived in Antarctica! Our day was filled with seabirds, ice, whales, penguins, and incredible scenery. In a microcosm, today was just a taste of what Antarctica is all about. We awoke to calmer seas as we finished crossing the Drake Passage. Read More>

Jan 19, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Antarctica

Drake Passage

We have thought about it. Many people have talked about it. Some even warned us about it. Today we are crossing the mighty Drake Passage. The day has been mostly overcast with rain. While its reputation precedes it, the Drake is being very kind to us. We have learned that ships can sway and that an occasional wave can surprise us, but we are getting our sea legs and enjoying the day. Sea birds fly effortlessly in the winds that toss the tops of waves into white fringe. Read More>

Jan 18, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Antarctica

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