National Geographic Resolution sailed east into the Antarctic Sound through Fridtjof Strait, a narrow passage packed with tablular icebergs that glinted in various hues of turquoise, cobalt, and crystalline white. The bergs were embellished by the occasional dark forms of leopard and Weddell seals and small groups of penguins. Ever-changing cloud formations provided a backdrop for skuas, shags, terns, and storm petrels as they flew past our ship.

Late morning, we encountered a few humpback whales and a large, scattered pod of killer whales. The killer whales were traveling in several small groups that repeatedly surfaced in all directions, allowing everyone a chance to photograph their black fins rising up through the icy water, now ruffled by a light wind.

We anchored in Bald Head, a rocky cove along the west side of the Antarctic Peninsula. Excited to set foot on the Antarctic continent, we eagerly explored the sloping hillsides of frost-shattered rocks while trying to envision the geologic past.

This evening, we moved further into the Weddell Sea. A serene sunset on our starboard side tinted the mirror-calm water in rose and gold hues. Portside, an orange moon rose above dark mountains.