Trinity Peninsula

Dec 15, 2019 - National Geographic Orion

Our morning began at the starkly beautiful Astrolab Island: an amazing assemblage of life, ice and geology. The beautiful bay we found ourselves in was lined by the dragon-tooth-like row of imposing craggy mountains, which tailed down into incredible crystal-clear sea. The rocks were home to many nesting southern fulmars, which wheeled great circles in the sky, joined by cape petrels and the odd Wilson’s storm petrel. The bright blue sea below would occasionally froth with porpoising penguins of all brushtail varieties, before hoping onto various ice floes and rocky skerries.

We spent the morning cruising by Zodiac along this fabulous landscape – we gawped at the beautiful icebergs sheltering bay and sat in wait for penguins to head around our boats as they preened their feathers and pushing air up between them.

After lunch our expedition diver Maya Santangelo gave a fantastic talk on the lives, physiology, and magical sounds of the seals of the southern ocean. We learned all about their amazing feats of diving and the lengths these incredible carnivores go to find and impress a mate.

As we travelled to our next destination and Maya spoke, a few whales came and graced us with their presence, a couple were busy sleeping and as they sighed and breathed, they lulled and floated about in the beautiful sunshine. One head-butted an iceberg. Our destination was Lindblad Cove, where we cruised by ship, watching the ice over champagne. After that came dinner, and then the after-dinner screening of Chasing Shakleton – a lovely relaxing Antarctic day.

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About the Author

Ella Potts


Ella’s passion has always been in marine conservation, with a childhood spent swimming, kayaking or boating in the chilly waters of the UK, or surveying the marine life of those waters from windswept headlands. She has numerous, distinct early memories of shivering adults, wrapped up in jumpers and cagoules, looking down at her with slight horror through sheets of rain and commenting on her short sleeves. A phenomena that persists to this day.  She graduated with a Masters degree in Marine Biology: Conservation and Resource Management from Swansea University, setting her up for a career protecting those marine ecosystems that she so loves. 

Ella has worked for several British whale conservancy charities, including ORCA and the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust (HWDT) and is a British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) marine mammal medic. She has a real passion for lecturing, and during her time in these different organizations has presented to vastly ranging audiences; from groups of young children right up to filled auditoriums at the headquarters of HWDT partner, WWF. 

About the Photographer

Nick Cobbing

National Geographic Photographer

Photojournalist and filmmaker Nick Cobbing aims to highlight themes of science and natural history through personal stories. A native of the United Kingdom, Nick frequently works in Antarctica and the Arctic, and has accompanied scientists on research expeditions based on icebreaker ships or even camped on the Arctic ice. His story on the future of Arctic sea ice appeared in the January 2016 issue of National Geographic magazine. He has also worked for media brands like GEO (Germany), The Sunday Times Magazine, and the BBC. Nick’s work has been exhibited and screened worldwide in galleries and at festivals, as well as to policymakers in the U.S. Congress and the Stockholm Parliament. 

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