The Drake Passage

Nov 25, 2018 - National Geographic Orion

As we left the Antarctic Peninsula behind us, we were met by a fantastic surprise - no less than six fin whales feeding and playing in the swell alongside our boat. We all charged outside to take pictures of the whales - which were easily within 100m of the boat.

Ralph delivered an incredible talk on his worldly adventures, which was much enjoyed by guests before lunch. After lunch, more whales came our way, with blows being encountered all the way into the Drake Passage. Slowly the birds that we had lost on our journey south, came back to join us on our return passage north, including black-browed albatrosses, cape petrels and white-chinned petrels.

Rob provided an afternoon talk on his exploits in Antarctica whilst working for the US Antarctic Programme which was accompanied by afternoon tea, and before you know it - more food! A recap gave way to our penultimate dinner onboard. A nice opportunity to reflect on an incredible, once in a lifetime journey. 

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About the Author

Ella Potts


Ella’s passion has always been in marine conservation, with a childhood spent swimming, kayaking or boating in the chilly waters of the UK, or surveying the marine life of those waters from windswept headlands. She has numerous, distinct early memories of shivering adults, wrapped up in jumpers and cagoules, looking down at her with slight horror through sheets of rain and commenting on her short sleeves. A phenomena that persists to this day.  She graduated with a Masters degree in Marine Biology: Conservation and Resource Management from Swansea University, setting her up for a career protecting those marine ecosystems that she so loves. 

Ella has worked for several British whale conservancy charities, including ORCA and the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust (HWDT) and is a British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) marine mammal medic. She has a real passion for lecturing, and during her time in these different organizations has presented to vastly ranging audiences; from groups of young children right up to filled auditoriums at the headquarters of HWDT partner, WWF. 

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