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

Adam is a British-born zoologist who has lived and worked in northern Australia since 1997. Before arriving in Darwin, Adam studied zoology, including a Ph.D., looking at the amazing acoustic world of tiny bats, and has spent time travelling and living in far more exotic places than England in pursuit of wildlife. He's developed a fascination with dangerous creatures and also 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 where he developed a deep appreciation for the wild. He is constantly inspired by the endless beauty of the natural world, and his passion for photography was instilled in him at a young age by his grandmother who taught him the importance of documenting life’s special moments.

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