Cape Horn and the Beagle Channel

Jan 16, 2019 - National Geographic Explorer

After an entire voyage of largely fine weather and calm seas we awoke to slightly more motion than we had yet experienced. Shortly after 6 a.m. the jagged headland of fabled Cape Horn began to appear out of the mist and low clouds that so often shroud this austere landscape. Flocks of sooty shearwaters, several species of albatrosses, and tiny storm petrels swarmed over the waves, attracted to their prey in these nutrient-rich waters created here by the upwelling of deep ocean currents. As our cozy little ship approached to within three miles of the cape we turned eastward and crossed the imaginary line taking us from the South Pacific into the South Atlantic. With the wind now directly behind us, our ride smoothed out as we made our way toward the eastern entrance to the Beagle Channel.

Shortly after breakfast our undersea specialist Amy Malkoski presented us with a talk on the biology, life history, and importance of Antarctic krill in the Southern Ocean food chain. At 10:30 a.m. National Geographic photographer Ken Garrett gave us a very interesting talk on how humans may have first arrived in the Americas. Just before lunch Mike Jackson led a light-hearted Antarctic trivia quiz in the lounge for interested guests and the winning team was awarded with a bottle of champagne.

Following chef Sara’s delicious Swedish-themed lunch, Rob Edwards described what it was like working in Antarctica as part of the United States Antarctic Research Program. At 4:45 p.m. our Ushuaia harbor pilot came aboard as we made our way westward along the Beagle Channel. Our final presentation at 5:15 p.m. was a showing of Ken Garrett’s photos taken during this voyage followed by the captain’s farewell cocktail party and dinner. So ended a fabulous adventure down to the ice aboard the National Geographic Explorer. Now we can begin to dream about our next extraordinary expedition to another remote part of this fabulous earth on which we live!

  • Send

About the Author

Peter Puleston


In November of 1978 when Peter made his first expedition to the Antarctic as a naturalist aboard the Lindblad Explorer, an unquenchable passion for the Earth's polar regions was born. Since then, he has participated in over 50 such excursions south to the Antarctic Peninsula and Ross Sea side of the great white continent. Peter has spent an equal number of seasons during the northern summers, exploring high Arctic environs. Those summers included the first traverse of the Northwest Passage by an expedition cruising vessel in 1984, many expeditions among the ice bears of Arctic Norway's Svalbard archipelago, extensive travel through Canada's North and also Greenland.

Get our newsletter

Join us for updates, insider reports & special offers.

Privacy Policy