Daily Expedition Reports

Daily reports from our days in the field

  • Cape Horn

    “Twenty years from now you’ll regret more the things you didn’t do than the ones that you did.  So cast off the bowlines.  Sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore. Dream. Discover.” –Mark Twain  Last night we watched Captain Irving Johnson’s 1929 footage as he rounded Cape Horn aboard the sailing vessel Peking. Read More

    • Jan 17, 2017
    • National Geographic Explorer in Antarctica
  • At sea, Drake Passage

    About the time we finished dinner, we made our official exit from Antarctica, venturing back out into the open sea of the Drake Passage—the most tempestuous swath of ocean anywhere in the world. The 500-mile crossing between the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula and the tip of South America is by far the shortest distance from the White Continent to any other. But because there are no significant landmasses at these latitudes, the persistent westerly winds have “infinite fetch”—meaning they blow unimpeded around the full circumference of the globe, stirring the ocean into its most frenzied possible state. Although today’s seas were bigger than our benevolent southbound crossing, at about 15 feet, hardened mariners know they still only rank a 3 out of 10 on the scale of nastiness these waters are known for.  Gripping the ropes our crew strung in the ship’s passages for balance, we counted ourselves lucky, as we have been all voyage. Today’s strong wind has another wonderful outcome: the birdlife. Read More

    • Jan 16, 2017
    • National Geographic Explorer in Antarctica
  • Brown Bluff & Weddell Sea

    After over one thousand miles spent traveling the islands, narrow passageways and ice-strewn landscapes of the Antarctic Peninsula, today we made our first continental landing. Brown Bluff is named for its unique geology, which provides a perfect landscape for nesting Gentoo and Adélie penguins. Guests were treated to the fluff and waddle of healthy chicks, as they zigzagged through the colony. And after lunch, the National Geographic Explorer headed into the Weddell Sea—a veritable sculpture garden of ice where we found picturesque panoramas and a group of over 40 killer whales. . Read More

    • Jan 15, 2017
    • National Geographic Explorer in Antarctica
  • Port Lockroy & Wilhelmina Bay

    When most guests hear about Port Lockroy, it is the excitement of shopping in the only gift shop in Antarctica they will encounter that sparks their interest. Port Lockroy however, is more than that. Established in 1944 as part of the secret wartime initiative to monitor German shipping movements, it eventually became a civilian operation to conduct actual scientific studies, until 1964 when its days as an active base ended. After restoration, it now serves as both a gift shop and a museum. People come for the shopping, but are soon surprised by the in-depth view they’ll get into the life of those whom once served here. Visiting the kitchen, with the tins of dried vegetables, and other food stores of a remote field station makes you imagine what dinner might have been like. Read More

    • Jan 14, 2017
    • National Geographic Explorer in Antarctica
  • Booth Island & Peterman Island

    Booth Island is often referred to as a place where icebergs go to die. A frozen graveyard where drifting ice, burdened by its own weight, grinds to a halt in the shallow waters surrounding the island. Once at rest, the icebergs are gradually eroded at their waterline by waves, leaving behind sapphire cantilevers that skirt towering wind-carved spires and knife-edge ridges. We explored this icy labyrinth by Zodiac and found crabeater seals hauled-out on the pack ice. Abundant scars on these seals provided testament to past encounters with leopard seals, which were also scattered among the frozen platforms.  And of course, penguins, the dapper denizens of the Antarctic shores, could be seen nearly everywhere: in the water, high up on windswept nest colonies, and in transit along well-worn trails in between.  In the afternoon, we made our way to Peterman Island where the calm seas and sunny skies provided wonderful conditions for our first kayaking experience in Antarctica. Read More

    • Jan 13, 2017
    • National Geographic Explorer in Antarctica
  • Crystal Sound & the Antarctic Circle

    This morning we were awoken by the announcement that we had crossed the Antarctic Circle, which runs 66°33′south of the equator. Below the Antarctic Circle there is at least one whole day every year where the sun does not set, and at least one whole day where the sun does not rise. After breakfast we explored Lallemand Fjord in search of an appropriate section of fast ice for the ship to penetrate, and for guests to safely disembark. Read More

    • Jan 12, 2017
    • National Geographic Explorer in Antarctica
  • Errera Channel & Neko Harbour, Antarctic Peninsula

    We began our day with a good workout—climbing to the top of Danco Island among countless gentoo penguins. With increasing winds, we were unable to land for the remainder of the day, however our ship-cruising was fortuitous as we crossed paths with a pair of bull killer whales near Paradise Bay.  . Read More

    • Jan 11, 2017
    • National Geographic Explorer in Antarctica
  • Final approach to Antarctica & Barrientos Island

    The Drake Passage has been kind and the rolling Southern Ocean swells have receded as National Geographic Explorer slipped onto the Antarctic continental shelf in the early morning on its final approach to Antarctica and the South Shetlands. There was excitement on the bridge as sightings of distant mountain peaks, icebergs and welcoming wildlife of many different forms marked our arrival. Read More

    • Jan 10, 2017
    • National Geographic Explorer in Antarctica
  • Drake Passage

    On most people’s minds arriving in the town of Ushuaia was what the transit across the “dreaded” Drake Passage would be like. Historical reputation and common knowledge word of mouth have it that this body of water between the southernmost islands of South America and the northernmost islands of the Antarctica Peninsula, is one of the most treacherous and nasty bits of ocean water in the world. Guests were prepared for this “right of passage” to get south and to Antarctica. Little did they know their voyage would be unbelievable! After landing in Ushuaia we had a very pleasant trip on a small local catamaran through the Beagle Channel. Read More

    • Jan 09, 2017
    • National Geographic Explorer in Antarctica
  • Cape Horn and Ushuaia

    As we opened our eyes on this last morning at sea aboard the National Geographic Explorer, we were met with a view of Cape Horn cloaked in heavy overcast skies.  This southernmost point of South America, with its stark beauty steeped in sailors’ lore, was our first glimpse of the world we left behind so many days before.  The albatrosses that joined us on our passage south had returned and wheeled effortlessly in the wind alongside our ship. Read More

    • Jan 07, 2017
    • National Geographic Explorer in Antarctica

Antarctica Itineraries

Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falklands

24 days
Expeditions in: Jan, Feb, Nov, Dec

Journey to Antarctica: The White Continent

14 days
Expeditions in: Jan, Feb, Nov, Dec

South Georgia and the Falklands

19 days
Expeditions in: Mar, Oct

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