Daily Expedition Reports

Daily reports from our days in the field

  • At Sea South of the Antarctic Circle

    Today was a truly Antarctic day that started south of the circle. We would soon experience two opposite sides of the weather this continent has to offer. Early on winds gusting up to 90 km an hour produced lively seas that crushed against the many icebergs floating around and that, combined with the very dark skies, created a gloomy yet very interesting environment through which to travel. In the afternoon, we witnessed a much kinder Antarctica—winds died completely to create glassy, calm waters and fantastic reflections of the many bergs around appeared. We visited an historic British base converted into a museum and ended the day sailing north among icebergs and humpback whales.

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  • Cuverville Island & Neko Harbour

    We started our first full day of expedition a little earlier than expected thanks to a pre-breakfast showing of humpback whales.  After the whale viewing, and after a hearty breakfast, we made our way to Cuverville Island.  Cuverville Island was used by whalers in the 1920s as an area to flense the whales they caught nearby, the many whale bones left on the beach are evidence of that time.  The island is also home to a large colony of gentoo penguins as well as an opportunity to hike up and enjoy the amazing view of the Errera Channel.  After we finish our landing at Cuverville we headed over to Neko Harbor.  The landing at Neko Harbor was our first continental landing on the Antarctic Peninsula and home to a gentoo penguin colony.  As if the day was not amazing enough, the guests of National Geographic Orion were treated to a Zodiac tour of Neko Harbor.

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  • Marguerite Bay

    The day began early for many guests who opted to watch the ship cross south of the Antarctic Circle at 0200. As the rest of the guests slept the ship navigated further south into Marguerite Bay where a layer of fog sat low to the sea. National Geographic Photographers David Doubilet and Jennifer Hayes wowed a morning audience with tales from the ice before the fog finally decided to lift, allowing for spectacular views of the icy continent and the afternoons planned landing site, Red Rock Ridge.

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  • Drake Passage, Barrientos Island and the South Shetlands

    It was almost impossible to believe what we were seeing this morning on the Drake Passage.  What is commonly referred to as one of the roughest ocean channels in the world, one could clearly argue the contrary this morning as we navigated our way to the great white continent.  Not a breath of wind could be found anywhere and the ocean met the horizon as if it were a mirror reflecting the clouds above.  The unbelievably calm conditions made it easy for us to spot a number of fin whales feeding in the distance.  We headed over to get a closer look at the second largest animal to have ever existed, and we enjoyed some fantastic views of these majestic creatures that were once hunted to near-extinction in these waters.  As we made our way closer to land, porpoising chinstrap penguins could be seen along the ship, acting almost as escorts to a land so many of us have dreamed of visiting.  We passed a few icebergs as we spotted land in the distance. 

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  • At Sea, Heading South to the Antarctic Circle

    This was our second day of cruising southward to reach our southernmost destination of the voyage.  The seas were relatively calm.  There were a few birds about.  We had a busy day ahead.  There were lectures that will help us prepare for what we will do and see.  There were also mandatory briefings on “rules” of Antarctica as accepted by the Treaty Nations and the International Association Antarctic Tour Operators, of which Lindblad Expeditions is a member.

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  • At Sea, Drake Passage

    When we stood on deck today and peered out the windows, it was hard to believe that we are in the middle of the Drake Passage, usually one of the most notorious stretches of sea on earth. With just 2-3 m of well and light easterly winds, the surface of the ocean has been quite calm, making for a very pleasant crossing so far. Although it is quiet for birds and mammals, we have been busy on board, decontaminating our boots and hiking gear, as well as enjoying a cocktail party hosted by the Captain. Tomorrow we hope to have our first glimpse of Antarctica: the South Shetland Islands.

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  • Drake Passage

    The early hours of this morning aboard the National Geographic Explorer were animated as we experienced a rendition of the ‘Drake Shake”. Undeterred, we pressed South bound for the Antarctic Circle. As the day progressed and our sea legs began to grow the seas mercifully subsided. Some brave souls ventured to the back deck with our year of the bird ambassadors and were rewarded with amazing views of soaring sea birds who were seemingly playing in the wind and waves. Prions, giant petrels and the majestic wandering albatross were all sighted. These interactions were documented using ebird and iNaturalist apps as we continue to harness citizen scientists to describe the distribution patterns of sea birds on our Drake Passage crossings.

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  • Drake Passage, Beagle Channel

    Our final day at sea is bittersweet. The crackling call of the chinstrap penguins is so fresh in our minds. The leopard seals who seem to be in every harbor and inlet should be showing up anytime now. However, today is not the same as so many recent days. Today the sun shines brightly. Today the wind has a comforting warmth. The views from the decks hold the landforms of Tiera Del Fuego. Today we see green leaves again.

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  • Cape Horn and the Beagle Channel

    We can be proud of our achievements today, for in sighting Cape Horn this morning we marked the end of a successful expedition below the Antarctic Circle and back, with not a single man lost. Shackleton would be proud of us.  We have just docked in Ushuaia this evening, and are now safely moored. From Antarctic Circle to full circle, back to where it all began.

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  • At Sea, Drake’s Passage

    “For I say there is no other thing that is worse than the sea is for breaking a man, even though he may be a very strong one” – Homer

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