It is our first day en route to the Antarctic Peninsula, with a goal of making it as far south as the Antarctic Circle—66° 33’ S. We will be at the halfway mark this evening, having covered 400 miles since we set sail from Ushuaia last night at 6 p.m. Along the way we have seen the Southern Ocean’s most iconic inhabitant, the wandering albatross, as well as a few relatives including the black-browed albatross, gray-headed albatross, and many giant petrels. We even had a much smaller member of the seabird family board our ship today: a lone blue petrel that, in a fit of disorientation, landed on our decks. This presented a rare opportunity to see this hardy bird, with just a two-foot wingspan, in the flesh as our natural history team tried to nurse it back to health before setting it free again.
With all this pelagic life as a backdrop, we bounced our way across the Drake Passage in moderate seas, gaining our sea legs and an appreciation for the mighty Southern Ocean.