The Drake Passage

Dec 22, 2019 - National Geographic Orion


Yesterday after literally and (for those who had just journeyed around the world to be here) figuratively experiencing the longest day of the year, it was exciting to wake up to views of nothing but open ocean to mark being well and truly on our way to explore the Southern Ocean. Since leaving the protected waters from Ushuaia, our sea conditions have certainly given us a taste of what this incredible body of water is famous for. Nevertheless, that didn’t make us any less grateful as the seas calmed throughout the day as we sailed with following winds and swell.

Our morning was spent meeting the expedition team, learning about our plans for the upcoming journey, as well as how to capture the trip best with photo tips from our photography team. Many took advantage of the mild conditions to practice their new skills and watch the passing giant petrels and wandering albatross from the back deck. Others enjoyed the views from the warmth of the observation lounge or familiarized themselves with the ship’s facilities, including getting ahead of the holiday feasts to come in the ship’s gym.

After preparing for our visit to the Antarctic with a decontamination party, we joined oceanographer extraordinaire, naturalist Deb Goodwin, in the lounge for a presentation about the Southern Ocean. Wrapping up our first day on board with our Captain’s Welcome cocktail party, we settled in for an evening of calm seas, eager for what tomorrow might bring once south of the Antarctic Convergence.

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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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