After our blustery afternoon yesterday at Ushuaia we were expecting a bit of a rougher Drake Passage, but today has been relatively peaceful! Long may it continue. For our first day onboard National Geographic Orion we spent it at sea with not a single mass of land in sight and only those onboard and the birds for company. Drake Passage supports an incredible number of sea birds and today we have seen at least five species including the enormous wandering albatross soaring gracefully behind the ship.
Our morning started with an introduction to the expedition team, followed by a safety briefing for the small boat operations we will do in the Antarctic. Then for the photographers among us, the two photo instructors gave a session on how to take better pictures during the expedition. Our afternoon had the very important task of decontamination. The Antarctic is relatively pristine, and so the last thing we want to do is inadvertently introduce invasive specimens such as plant seeds or diseases transmittable to wildlife. So we had a vacuum session, removing any potential seed in our clothes and bags, followed by a dipping of our boots into a biocide and fungicide to kill off any hidden things on our boots!
Tom introduced us then to the Antarctic for the later part of the afternoon and shortly after that we had our captain’s cocktail gathering, where Captain Heidi introduced herself officially and welcomed us all onboard the wonderful National Geographic Orion.