Drake Passage

Jan 28, 2018 - National Geographic Explorer

Today was the Day of the Albatross. From dawn till dusk we were accompanied by the Southern Ocean’s masters of winds and waves. Greatest of them all, the wandering albatross, with wings spanning over 10 feet made for the perfect escorts on our journey south towards Antarctica.

Chilean poet and diplomat Pablo Neruda penned the following verse capturing in 15 elegant lines the majesty and wonder of these magnificent beings, symbol of all that is wild and free.

The wind sails the open sea

steered by the albatross

that glides, falls, dances, climbs,

hangs motionless in the fading light,

touches the waves’ towers,

settles down in

the disorderly element’s

seething mortar

while the salt crowns it with laurels

and the furious foam hisses,

skims the waves

with its great symphonic wings,

leaving above the tempest

a book that flies on forever:

the statue of the wind

-Pablo Neruda

With Antarctica nearing ever closer and with fair winds and calm seas we ended our day anticipating the adventures that await us, dreaming of elegant masters of the wind.

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About the Author

Doug Gualtieri


Doug’s passion for the natural world started at an early age in his home state of Michigan. He received two biology degrees from Central Michigan University, and later went on to get a master’s degree in conservation biology. His education led him to study a diverse range of natural sciences, with an emphasis on ecology, animal behavior, and migratory birds. Shortly after leaving the academic world, Doug migrated north to Alaska with his trusty Siberian husky, Koda. He began working as a naturalist in Denali National Park in 1999. For over seven years he has shared his love of Alaska and Denali’s six million acres with Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic guests, as trip leader for the Denali Land Extension based at the North Face Lodge deep within the park.

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