South Orkney Islands, At sea towards Elephant Island

Nov 20, 2019 - National Geographic Explorer

“Things won are done; joy's soul lies in the doing.”

—William Shakespeare.

When National Geographic Explorer arrived at Monroe Island at 7 a.m. this morning, accompanied by petrels and albatrosses and having passed numerous beautiful icebergs, weather conditions allowed for exploration of the area on Zodiacs.

Being exposed to the wind and cold, we got to see chinstrap penguins and the ice up close for the first time. It was a true expedition experience: as conditions deteriorated quickly, we were reminded that this environment might seem hostile to us, but it is home to many well-adapted species, such as the penguins that did not seem to mind the 65 knots of wind and snow. We made our way back to our comfortable ship and continued on our way to Shingle Cove.

However, we were faced with the same unfavorable conditions, so we decided to begin our journey to Elephant Island. In addition to interesting presentations about photography and the Antarctic Treaty, we were rewarded with a beautiful sunset.   

And to round the day off, it was the Captain’s birthday (Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Geburtstag!) and he welcomed guests and staff at the lounge for an open Q&A session in the lounge.

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About the Author

Hannah Kriesell


Having a great interest in science and love for nature, Hannah started travelling at an early age and engaged in work supporting local science projects and nature conservation efforts, such as being a ranger in South Africa’s Addo Elephant National Park, a volunteer in a wildlife rescue station in Ecuador, and monitoring the desert elephant population in Namibia. Her experiences during those trips led her to do a bachelor’s degree in biology in Germany and a master’s degree in international nature conservation in New Zealand. She studied insect species in Malaysia and New Zealand, whales and dolphins in Namibia and Australia, and endangered birds in Tahiti. Driven by her curiosity and her desire to explore, she did her Ph.D. on king penguins. Spending a total of 8 months amongst thousands of king penguins on Possession Island, Crozet Archipelago, she studied the mate choice behavior and communication in this fascinating seabird while also learning about the other 26 bird species inhabiting this beautiful and remote island. Together with renowned experts, she published an assessment of the biodiversity conservation efforts in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean and actions that can be taken to preserve those pristine environments.

About the Photographer

Jamie Coleman

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Jamie is from England. He grew up in Oxford, about as far from the sea as you can get in the UK, yet somehow decided he would work in marine biology and conservation. Ever since he reached his teens, he has dedicated time to this passion, working and volunteering in various roles on nature reserves and in aquariums. It was no surprise that in 2007, he left home to study marine biology at the University of Newcastle.

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