The Falklands, South Georgia, and South Orkney were now behind us, and we had this day at sea to sift through the several thousand pictures we took in each of those destinations. However, at recap last night there was a surprise announcement that we would be attempting a stop at A23A — the largest iceberg in the world. Guests and staff alike shared in the excitement!

Early in the morning, the gentle bumps and scrapes of ice along the hull of the ship was a reminder to get up, get dressed in layers, and head to the bow! The bridge team of National Geographic Explorer meticulously maneuvered the maze of ice, and by 9:00 a.m. we arrived at A23A! In January of this year, A23A measured roughly 40 by 34 nautical miles, which is larger than the state of Rhode Island! After just thirty minutes of cruising beside this massive piece of ice, a call over the PA system announced that we spotted a pod of type B2 killer whales! They were still a distance away, but fortune favors the patient and before we knew it, the pod was beside us providing stunning views for all. There was excitement all around the ship while the outside decks filled with onlookers and the sounds of rapid shutter clicks. All of this by 10:00 a.m.!

After hours of cruising beside the largest iceberg in the world and the pod of killer whales, National Geographic Explorer peeled off and continued making way into the Weddell Sea and toward the Antarctic Peninsula.