Daily Expedition Reports

Daily reports from our days in the field

  • At Sea, Drake Passage

    Once again the Drake Passage was being kind to the National Geographic Explorer and its gallant crew. Although not as calm as our southward journey, it was still quite benign compared to what conditions can be like when crossing this notorious body of water. I wrote this at 17:35 local time and very soon we would be crossing the 60th parallel, leaving Antarctica. Read More

    • Feb 15, 2017
    • National Geographic Explorer in Antarctica
  • Neko Harbor & Paradise Bay, Antarctic Peninsula

    Today it was all about ice, ice, ice. We sailed around it, we walked on it, we photographed it, we sat on it, some of us slipped on it, we took Zodiac rides through it, we kayaked amongst it, we even jumped into it, we put it into our drinks, and we loved it. Our morning at Neko Harbor gave us another continental landing and another chance to remember how much we love penguins. It started with early morning glimpses of humpback whales as we approached our destination. A languid Weddell seal watched us disgorge onto the beach and thread our way around the gentoos, upslope for spectacular views over the bay. Sunlight sparkled on the snow slopes all around and distant avalanches drew our attention and our cameras.  Everyone felt relaxed and happy in the unusually good weather and pleasant sunshine. The excellent conditions inspired an afternoon in paradise at Paradise Bay, just around the corner. Read More

    • Feb 14, 2017
    • National Geographic Explorer in Antarctica
  • Petermann Island & Palmer Station

    A morning of Antarctic delights awaited us on Petermann Island. The air was dry and clear, the temperature moderate and the winds low. On the water, a variety of seals—Weddell, fur, and crabeater—and gorgeous icebergs were highlights of our Zodiac cruises. On land, bevvies of engaging gentoo penguins were first in line at the shore, but soon Adélies also came along, tobogganing across the snow. A colony of Antarctic shags also breed there, the chicks now well-grown and almost fledged. Here and there ice-smoothed bedrock protruded through the snow in whaleback ridges shot through with dark basaltic dykes, tracing the pathways of ancient glaciers. Down by the shore a lonely cross commemorates three men from the British Antarctic Survey who tragically lost their lives in the area in 1982. Overlooking the scene from the top of Megalestris Hill is a historic stone cairn, erected by the French expedition led by Jean-Baptiste Charcot which famously overwintered there in 1909. We stood by the shore imagining their expedition ship Pourquoi Pas? moored in the bay, waiting for the sea ice to freeze it fast and secure to the shore. We pictured the scientific huts built around the shore for observations and experiments in all aspects of early Antarctic science, with cables strung from structure to structure connecting them to an electricity generator, illuminating the Antarctic night. Across the sound the precipitous mountains of Booth Island and the Peninsula mainland made a stunning backdrop, with the occasional rumbling of glaciers heard as they descended to the sea.Our return passage through the impossibly beautiful Lemaire Channel took us to the southern end of Anvers Island where the American research base Palmer Station is situated. Read More

    • Feb 13, 2017
    • National Geographic Explorer in Antarctica
  • Lemaire Channel, Booth Island, South Ice Edge

    Today’s adventure started slightly earlier than most days as we entered the Lemaire Channel around 6 a.m. The weather, a little moody, only added to one of the most scenic channels on the Antarctic Peninsula. After breakfast we landed at Port Charcot on Booth Island; not only did we get to see nesting gentoo penguins and snow algae, but after a short hike we also got to visit a cairn put up by Charcot and his crew during their 1904 winter-over. After we finished our visit it was decided that we would head south and see if we could cross the Antarctic Circle. Unfortunately the sea ice was too heavy but Captain Oliver Kruess treated us to some impressive ice navigation as Chief Engineer Athanasios Katsoulis, and his crew keeps our ship running.. Read More

    • Feb 12, 2017
    • National Geographic Explorer in Antarctica
  • Mikkelsen Harbor & Cierva Cove

    As guests aboard the National Geographic Explorer awoke, few would have predicted another spectacular day of wildlife and iceberg watching on the Antarctic Peninsula. The day started off grey and foggy as NG Explorer approached Mikkelsen Harbor, but even with poor visibility, guests were treated to views of humpback whales as the naturalists prepared for landing. The morning was split into landings and Zodiac cruises. Landers gained great views of boisterous fur seals playing across the island and more gentoo chicks, while cruisers were treated to incredible up-close encounters with humpbacks before everyone returned for yet another exquisite lunch on board. As National Geographic Explorer relocated towards Cierva Cove, we were accompanied by a small group of very obliging Type A killer whales, which had seemingly just made a kill. Read More

    • Feb 11, 2017
    • National Geographic Explorer in Antarctica
  • Antarctic Sound; Brown Bluff; Erebus & Terror Gulf

    What more excitement could there be during a single day in Antarctica?! The day began with our arrival at the mainland site of Brown Bluff at the very tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. Read More

    • Feb 10, 2017
    • National Geographic Explorer in Antarctica
  • South Shetland, Robert Island & Aitcho Islands

    After a remarkable, smooth crossing over the famous Drake Passage already by 5 a. Read More

    • Feb 09, 2017
    • National Geographic Explorer in Antarctica
  • The Drake Passage

    To cross the Drake Passage is to take advantage of the shortest stretch of ocean between the icy continent of Antarctica and any other continental landmass. Yet at a distance of 800km, it isn’t necessarily a stone’s throw from the Southern tip of South America. Add to this tales of severe storms, historic shipwrecks and terrific waves that test the most resilient of sea legs, it may be the shortest crossing, but the Drake Passage certainly isn’t known for its gentility.   So here we are, sailing across one of the world’s meanest bodies of water. Read More

    • Feb 08, 2017
    • National Geographic Explorer in Antarctica
  • Drake Passage, Cape Horn, Ushuaia

    The mercifully calm crossing of the Drake Passage afforded a rare treat. As the dawn sunlight spilled across the horizon, Captain Oliver Kruess sailed the National Geographic Explorer into the southern-most tip of Chilean territory, and South America itself, the Diego Ramírez Islands. The islands are located 65 miles south-southwest of Cape Horn and stretch about five miles from north to south. Read More

    • Feb 06, 2017
    • National Geographic Explorer in Antarctica
  • The Southern Ocean

    It is a fine thing to spend a day out at open sea. The morning ocean was calm and benign, with minimal swell and only a light breeze, giving us an unexpectedly comfortable first day of the Drake Crossing. As well as the Wilson’s storm petrels that we were already used to seeing down on the Peninsula, we were joined by occasional open-ocean seabirds such as grey-headed, black-browed and light mantled albatross, and even a soft-plumed petrel. A relaxing day at sea was before us, with no land in sight. Read More

    • Feb 05, 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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