Drake Passage

Feb 16, 2019 - National Geographic Orion


We cast off our lines in the wee hours of the morning and were halfway down the Beagle Channel by dawn. The early risers were treated to a display of breaching by a mother and calf pair of humpback whales. Then it was out into the Drake Passage, which lived up to its infamous reputation: a relentless strong wind, gusting up to 65 knots, whipped the sea into a frenzy. From the aft deck we watched the seabirds in awe as they deftly used the wind to their advantage, hurtling by and arcing high above the horizon. As the storm system passes to our east tonight, we hope to make better progress as we head south towards the Antarctic Convergence Zone and the Southern Ocean proper.

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About the Author

Conor Ryan

Naturalist

Conor Ryan is a congenital ecologist. His career began in the late 1980s, when he developed a keen interest in intertidal ecology, undertaking almost daily field trips to the seashore across from his home in Cobh, Ireland. Though he logged significant hours searching beneath barnacle-studded rocks for eels, his publication record on this seminal research was sorely lacking because he was five years old. As he grew, so too did the size of the marine creatures that he was preoccupied with. 

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