National Geographic Orion took advantage of the lovely weather and following sea at the crossing from Ushuaia to the Falklands. We had close views of giant petrels, cape petrels, and black-browed albatrosses flying and following the ship. Though far from land, these animals are very much at home on the open waters of the Southern Ocean. In addition to looking out for wildlife, our guests made the most of the day by getting familiar with the ship and becoming acquainted with each other.
In the morning, after the expedition staff introductions and briefings, our photo team spoke about skills that will help us prepare for the days ahead. Later in the morning, we were thrilled with the sightings of a sei whale that swam very close to the ship. Despite having been heavily hunted in the early part of the 20th Century, this area remains one of the best places on earth to see them.
In the afternoon, we were presented with a number of fun and informative lectures. The first one was about the whales of the Southern Ocean. It was full of interesting facts about the different species that we might encounter and their evolutionary history and ecology. It was followed by a comprehensive talk on the birds of the Falklands that gave us a clear indication of the species that we might see in the following days. As the talk came to an end, a pod of long finned pilot whales could be seen from the stern of the ship, and very soon guests and staff were observing the whales from the sunny decks.
In the evening, we were all invited to the lounge to formally meet the captain and the crew with cocktails and drinks for a toast to the expedition! Following our toast, we made our way to the dining room to enjoy a delicious dinner.