South Shetland Islands

Jan 20, 2018 - National Geographic Orion

We have reached Antarctica!

After two days at sea on an all-things-considered very mild Drake Passage, we have reached the South Shetland Islands, which form a barrier to the Antarctic Peninsula. The morning was spent relaxing onboard the ship as we motored the final miles in.

Tom Ritchie, the legendary Lindblad naturalist, gave his presentation on penguins of the continent so we knew what to expect. After lunch, we made our first landing at Hannah Point, on Livingston Island. We were treated to intimate views of Gentoo and chinstrap penguins with their chicks as well as a jumble of elephant seals and an assortment of flying sea birds.

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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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