Gerlache Strait and Wilhelmina Bay, Antarctica

Nov 26, 2017 - National Geographic Orion

This morning began as National Geographic Orion maneuvered into some fast ice on the peninsula of Antarctica. There had been rumors circulating about a possible encounter with a very rare bird indeed. No sooner had the ship maneuvered into position than the bird was sighted. An emperor penguin! The largest and rarest penguin for this part of the continent. Nearly the entire ship loaded into Zodiacs to get a good long look at the animal. It was so obliging as to even come closer and walk towards the fleet of rubber boats. Memory cards were filled, batteries drained, and the Antarctic experience was completed. During lunch we repositioned the ship up near Anver’s Island, providing a fantastic assortment of ice sculptures and scenery as we headed north into a lumpy Drake Passage, wishing the White Continent goodbye.

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About the Author

James Hyde


James is a home-grown, free-range Pacific Northwest outdoorsmen. Born in Seattle and reared nearby on Vashon Island, he grew up in and surrounded by the Salish Sea. James has saltwater in his veins, but would be quick to point out we all do, echoing Carl Safina " We are, in a sense, soft vessels of seawater." Born with the travel bug, James was fortunate enough to spend time on four continents before graduating college. During his studies at Western Washington University's Huxley College of the Environment, James went to Australia and visited the Great Barrier Reef. He was never the same. A lifetime of playing in the productive, but opaque green water of the Northwest had offered him little firsthand experience of the creatures below its depths, but with a clear view of the colorful dramas playing out across the bottom of the tropical Pacific, he was hooked. Scuba diving and underwater ecology were solidified as his passion and after college, it took him to a dive shop in Seattle fixing gear, tidepooling with local middle school students, and generally making a spectacle of himself in the surf.

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