Sailing toward the Falkland Islands

Mar 09, 2019 - National Geographic Explorer

After our first night onboard National Geographic Explorer, we awoke to a beautiful sunrise over the Le Maire Strait. To our northwest rose the mountains of the Argentine portion of Tierra del Fuego, and Isla de los Estados was to our southeast. Light winds and hardly any swell made the morning very pleasant and allowed most of us to attend a briefing in the lounge. There, our expedition leader introduced us to his team. It was impressive to see the wide array of knowledge and experience gathered in the 19-strong team of naturalists, speakers, and various specialists in their fields.

During the late morning, we heard the first of the many lectures. We learned about the seabirds of the Southern Ocean, about their adaptations to the life at sea, and how to distinguish one species from the other. As we sailed into the open waters of the South Atlantic, the ship’s movement increased slightly, and many of us enjoyed time on the outer decks where we watched and photographed the passing birds that flew seemingly effortlessly over the deep blue ocean. During the morning, small pods of Peale’s dolphins were spotted occasionally and majestic albatrosses sailed the steady winds without a single flap of their enormous wings.

After lunch, we were briefed on our plans for tomorrow’s outings in the Falkland Islands—or least what could be considered the Plan A. Then we heard a presentation called Introduction to Expedition Photography by the certified photo instructor who offered practical sessions about photography and camera use.

Before dinner we had our official welcome aboard. The captain joined us in the lounge and introduced us to some other important people behind the scenes. As we enjoyed a delicious, three-course dinner, we sailed into a beautiful sunset that seemed a promising omen for all the exciting expedition days ahead.

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About the Author

Kerstin Langenberger


Kerstin Langenberger is deeply in love with the Polar regions. Originally from Germany, she lived in Iceland for seven years where she graduated with a degree in environmental science. She later spent a year on Svalbard, Norway, where she became an Arctic nature guide. Since then, Kerstin has been working on expedition ships traveling to both polar regions and strives to be an ambassador for the rapidly changing ecosystems found there. The quote often attributed to Mahatma Gandhi, “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” sums up Kerstin’s drive to live a life centered around nature and conservation. In addition to being a hut warden and ranger in Iceland, she spent a year working in conservation in New Zealand and joined the crew of Greenpeace's flagship Rainbow Warrior in Scandinavia. Recently, she spent two summer seasons on the subantarctic island of South Georgia where she supported the important work of the South Georgia Heritage Trust.

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