Drake Passage & Beagle Channel

Dec 20, 2019 - National Geographic Orion

Land Ho! Continuing to cruise through the world-famous Drake Passage, National Geographic Orion awoke to friendly seas. Giant petrels and huge albatrosses continued to follow along the ship as the seas continued to calm progressively throughout the morning. Our last day on board was spent learning from naturalists Ella Potts and Karen Velas about the magnificent killer whales and albatrosses, some of the most spectacular wildlife we can count on experiencing on our journey.

Passing Cape Horn in the afternoon, our approach back to land was signified not just by the increase in sea temperature since passing north back through the Antarctic convergence, but also by exciting marine animal sightings not found within the Drake Passage. Pods of Peale’s dolphins and porpoising SoutAmerican sea lions welcomed us back to the land at the end of the world.

Entering the protected waters of the Beagle Channel, we are greeted by blue skies, steep cliffs, dramatic mountain peaks and lush greenery – the first native trees we have seen in over a week! Picking up our pilot for our home stretch, our afternoon is spent navigating through stunning scenery, before celebrating with our captain’s farewell cocktail party and enjoying the world premiere of the guest slideshow to help us reflect on our incredible journey south.

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About the Author

Maya Santangelo

Naturalist/Expedition Diver

Maya was born and raised in Southern California, where her curiosity for the natural world was encouraged from an early age. Relocating to Sydney, Australia with her family at 11 years old, she learned to scuba dive, eventually becoming a PADI Instructor. Her fascination for the underwater world undoubtedly fueled her interest to study marine biology at James Cook University. Working as a professional guide in some of the world’s top dive destinations, including Palau and Mexico’s Guadalupe Island and Revillagigedo Archipelago, Maya realized a passion for sharing her love for the ocean with others, and the value of citizen science in the dive industry.

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