Drake Passage and Melchoir Islands

Feb 09, 2020 - National Geographic Explorer

We awoke again today aboard National Geographic Explorer in the Drake Passage, and once more we had calm waters below us and blue skies above. With so little wind, there were comparatively few birds following us; however, we were still able to watch cape petrels and southern giant petrels soaring over our wake. Throughout the morning we listened to talks by our Global Perspectives guest speaker Christiana Figueres about climate change and naturalist Doug Gualtieri about penguins, until we were interrupted by a large pod of Type B2 killer whales.

In the afternoon, we officially arrived in Antarctica and stopped at Melchoir Islands for our first Zodiac tours!! There we were in awe of the spectacular scenery—glaciers, giant icebergs, and fur seals clamoring about on the snow-laden shores. And if that weren’t enough, once dinner was over we headed out onto the bow to watch humpback whales feeding all around us. It was an amazing start to our time on the Antarctic Peninsula.

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About the Author

Andy Szabo


Originally from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, Andy moved from the whale-impoverished shores of Lake Ontario to the west coast of British Columbia to pursue his passion for marine mammals and marine biology.  Andy received his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Victoria, and was subsequently awarded his doctorate through the Marine Mammal Institute at Oregon State University.  His graduate work focused on the maternal behavior and foraging ecology of Southeast Alaskan humpback whales; however, he has also participated in studies focused on other marine mammals, including blue, fin, grey, sperm and killer whales.

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