Dec 18, 2018 - National Geographic Orion
The Drake Passage has the reputation of being the most turbulent waterway in the world. The size of the waves and the constant wind are what legends have been made of. I cannot say that the sea conditions were about to make
Fortunately for us, National Geographic Orion is equipped with an incredible device known as stabilizers. These fin-like appendages swing out on either side of the ship. Positioned below the waterline, they act as a counterbalance to the waves and help make our ride much more stable than one could have thought possible in such conditions. Once in a while some of us would brave the conditions and venture outside. There was almost a constant escort of albatross, and petrels gliding on the wind that pressed us onward to our destination.
It was soon time to begin our preparation for our arrival in Antarctica. Our morning was spent in briefings about how we were to conduct ourselves once we had arrived. We learned the dos and don’ts for walking among the penguins we all so anxiously wanted to see, we saw the film all visitors are required to view about the fragility of this special place and realized that we were not simply going to an incredible destination, we were going to a vast pristine land that is home to unique species of birds, seals, whales, and even plants. We were about to visit a place few people on Earth ever get the chance to see. Every measure is taken to ensure that when we leave, the White Continent is undisturbed by our visit. The final act of preparation was the decontamination of all of our gear. Our packs, outerwear, boots, and even walking sticks were all carefully cleaned to guarantee nothing we brought with us might be introduced to this relatively untouched part of the planet.
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