The last time we glimpsed land was 11 days ago at Fernando de Noronho (remote islands off Brazil). So the possibility of seeing land this evening was much anticipated, as we approach the Straits of Magellan. To add to the excitement, we had high seas and gusts up to storm force, making for a dramatic backdrop against which to photograph the obliging wildlife.
National Geographic Explorer
At Sea, Underway from Tristan da Cunha
We continued our course from Tristan da Cunha to St. Helena. Today is our last sea day before we reach the island. This morning, we awoke to the southeast trade winds, which appeared right on schedule at about 20˚S latitude. Blowing from the southeast at about 20 knots, these steady winds were the reliable force that allowed sailing ships to make the passage from Africa to South America. The northeast trade winds, which we will encounter after we visit Ascension Island, provided the force that carried sailing ships from Europe to the New World. We are continuing to use our time at sea very well with presentations on Napoleon, who spent his final years in exile on St. Helena. We are carrying Governor Nigel Phillips and his wife Emma home to the island, so our National Geographic guest lecturer Andrew Evans organized a discussion about St. Helena along with two guests who have lived on both St. Helena and the Falklands. The Governor has responsibility for three Central Atlantic islands, St. Helena, Tristan da Cunha, and Ascension, as they are all British Overseas Territories. Later in the day, Andrew continued his writing workshop, and we had a talk on island biogeography. After dinner, the staff organized a game of Pictionary to cap off the day. We are all eagerly anticipating our arrival at St. Helena tomorrow morning, our fourth island on this Atlantic transit.