It is a strange thing to cross the international dateline, whichever direction you may be heading. At the beginning of our voyage we ventured into the future, losing a day as we headed over to mainland Russia, but today crossing it in the opposite direction we lived the same day twice. Of course, such turning of the time (and date) boggle the mind, so there was nothing left to do but fill the day with a stunning array of natural history information from our expert staff. Beginning with a presentation from Meet the Ocean exampling how our undersea program develops educational outreach across the world, then onto naturalist Shirley Metz discussing the history of south polar exploration. After another wonderful lunch, we heard from our resident geologist Andreas Madsen concering tectonic plates, then finished off the afternoon by legendary seabird biologist Peter Harrison discussing his journey to the seven continents in search of seabirds far and wide.
National Geographic Orion
It is a busy day this last day of our trip. However, just like every other morning of this trip, Helga our talented receptionist and musician serenaded us with her beautiful piano playing, drawing many of us to the lounge. We enjoyed a fabulous breakfast, once again. Our rental gear was collected just prior to Alex giving the disembarkation briefing, which brings the reality of our departure into clear relief. Outside the fog came and went revealing a vast sea then not much beyond the rails of our ship. Glaucous gulls and short-tailed shearwaters continue to be our travelling companions. This crossing of the Bering Sea could not have been any more smooth. A presentation about marine invasives and Pacific Ocean currents got minds engaged with the very waters we transit. Our photo team gave individual feedback to interested photographers. Soon everyone was sharing images and selecting their chosen few for the guest slide show. After lunch we set our clocks ahead an hour. Keeping track of the day and the time has been a challenge this trip. We have two September 15ths and lose two hours before the day is done. Tracey the hotel manager returned our passports and the hotel team provided an ice cream social which delighted everyone. Corey Arnold, our National Geographic photographer, presented images of Kivalina, an Alaskan whaling village, we saw with new understanding. This remote village continues to survive with strong family ties even when whaling has been scarce. All too soon it was cocktail hour and time for our slide show. WOW, we have some spectacular photographers on this trip but even more importantly, we have some stunning memories.