The Drake Passage

Feb 04, 2018 - National Geographic Explorer

The large body of water between the southern tip of Argentina and the Antarctic Peninsula is called the Drake Passage. Sandwiched on either side by the South Pacific Ocean and the South Atlantic Ocean, it has a fierce reputation. Our trip south from Ushuaia over a week ago was deceptive. The Drake was calm, it was sleeping, its claws were sheathed, and we escaped to Antarctica with the carefree attitude of those who have avoided dire consequences without being aware of them.

Today, the Drake has awoken. It had teeth, and we were in its maw. Having slipped through its hands the first time, it wasn’t letting us get away with it a second time. It is fortunate, then, that we were aboard the National Geographic Explorer, a ship more than capable of taking on the Drake Passage and coming away unscathed. We rocked, we rolled, we shuddered, but we endured. Our guests were showing, in the main, great resilience in the face of roiling seas. Admittedly there were a handful of green faces, but they’ve just had one of the most incredible experiences of their lives, so it’s a small price to pay.

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About the Author

Adam Britton

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Adam is a British-born zoologist who has lived and worked in northern Australia since 1997. Before arriving in Darwin, Adam gained a Ph.D. on the flight performance and echolocation of insectivorous bats, but his passion has always been large predators and the relationship that different cultures have toward them.

About the Videographer

Mark Clement

Video Chronicler

Mark Clement grew up in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains in Upstate New York, where he developed a deep appreciation for wild places at a young age. Now living in the Green Mountains of Vermont, he has made a career out of capturing the beauty of wild places at home and around the world.

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