Traveling southbound across Baffin Bay from the Nares Strait to the west central Greenland coast, National Geographic Endurance made efficient but foggy miles. There was little to watch out the window yet plenty happening on board! Much anticipated, back-of-the-house tours offered guests a chance to see galley spaces and showcased how the ship’s incredible team of chefs manages provisions and prepares our delicious and diverse meals. Captain Oliver Kruess shared how the ship’s fin stabilizers and X-Bow work to keep the ride comfortable, offering an interesting glimpse into vessel design.
Presentations by the expedition staff addressed the human and scientific history of the region, including Viking expansion across the North Atlantic, decades of discoveries about the Greenland Ice Sheet, and seabird ecology in the face of environmental threats. Through the Visiting Scientist program, Rick Ludkin has been conducting bird surveys from the bridge for sixteen hours each and every day of this trip. Binoculars in hand, he logs location, species, number, and behavior for all birds within 300 meters of the ship. The data is added to the long-term record for Eastern Canada Seabirds at Sea’s project. Rick discussed the effort’s scientific objectives, data applications that support marine protected area planning and population monitoring, and some of the surprising observations he has made during our exploration of the Canadian Arctic and Western Greenland. A showing of Chasing Ice with popcorn rounded out our evening! This film features the Extreme Ice Survey’s groundbreaking work documenting glacial change worldwide, including at Ilulissat Icefjord, which we will visit in the final days of our voyage.