Our second day at sea finds us well as we make our way from the Antarctic Peninsula to the Drake Passage. We experienced what sailors familiar with the region call “Drake Lake,” an apt name for the low winds and mild swells experienced on our journey back to civilization in Ushuaia, Argentina.


We woke in the morning to the now familiar greeting of Jonathan, our expedition leader: “Dear guests, ladies and gentleman, good morning.” After breakfast, we piled into the lounge for a presentation on plastics. Undersea specialist Amy Malkoski led a thoughtful and engaging conversation, and we discussed personal experience with waste and plastic.


With the seas calm, only a few birds flew astern of the ship. We briefly spotted dolphins from the bridge. Kelp gulls and petrels banked on our draft, urging us back to land.


In the late morning, National Geographic certified photo instructor Jeff Litton hosted a discussion on climate change. He encouraged participation from staff and guests, and we enjoyed an interesting conversation about our planet.


After spending more than a week with shades of blue, grey and white, we finally spotted deep green on the horizon when entering the protected waters of the Beagle Channel. Rain clouds hovered off the port side, bringing brief showers. Beautiful views of forested islands and mountains welcomed us back.


In the afternoon, we learned about krill, a keystone species of the Antarctic, from naturalist Chelsea Behmyery. She shared amazing graphics that depicted the boom and bust life cycle of krill populations. We were also treated to an inside look at the workflow of National Geographic photographer Susan Suebert.


Our bags are packed, and we carry with us the memories, photos and newfound friendships that connected us during this remarkable trip to the Antarctic. As the ship began to dock and we gathered in the lounge for our Captain’s farewell cocktail hour, a vibrant double rainbow greeted us in the sky above.