We started our first full day of expedition a little earlier than expected thanks to a pre-breakfast showing of humpback whales. After the whale viewing, and after a hearty breakfast, we made our way to Cuverville Island. Cuverville Island was used by whalers in the 1920s as an area to flense the whales they caught nearby, the many whale bones left on the beach are evidence of that time. The island is also home to a large colony of gentoo penguins as well as an opportunity to hike up and enjoy the amazing view of the Errera Channel. After we finish our landing at Cuverville we headed over to Neko Harbor. The landing at Neko Harbor was our first continental landing on the Antarctic Peninsula and home to a gentoo penguin colony. As if the day was not amazing enough, the guests of National Geographic Orion were treated to a Zodiac tour of Neko Harbor.
National Geographic Resolution
Any true voyage contains the element of return. As we approached South America, we reflected on our voyage thus far. Nearly three weeks ago, we cast our lines from Ushuaia and sailed towards the seventh continent. We saw corners of the world privy only to a few…truly special experiences that we will hold close for our lifetimes. Seabirds circled the ship, coming in and out of our wake to pay visits. These beautiful animals wander the ocean. They are at home at sea, an alien concept to us terrestrial animals. As the day progressed, the landscape began to unravel. Snowy peaks in the distance eventually gave way to a forested landscape, quite a shock as we had not seen proper trees in weeks! For our final wildlife encounter, we spent time with a group of killer whales. Our incredible ship and bridge team allowed close and personal views of these amazing animals. Aboard the ship, we hosted presentations with topics on photography and how to take observations from our voyage and share them with the scientific community. The hotel department pampered us with delicious treats. Our much-anticipated auction was a lively hit, raising money for our crew fund and conservation on South Georgia. In the afternoon, we met our pilots on the eastern edge of the Beagle Channel. Under their guidance, we will be dockside in a few hours, the same location we departed from three weeks ago. It feels like a lifetime has passed, bursting with countless memories. Memories we look forward to taking home with us and sharing with our loved ones and the world.