Expedition Stories

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Departing the Southern Ocean

Robert Edwards, Naturalist

  • Daily Expedition Reports
  • 10 Dec 2019

Departing the Southern Ocean, 12/10/2019, National Geographic Orion

  • Aboard the National Geographic Orion
  • Antarctica

In the final days of our voyage, we think of the great Southern Ocean and all the denizens thereof. No better summary could be than the simple words of Pablo Neruda, poet laureate of Chile, and his poem, “Ode to the Wandering Albatross.”

Oda a un Albatros Errante

En alta mar navega el viento

dirigido por el albatros:

esta es la nave del albatros:

cruza, desciende, danza, sube,

se suspende en la luz oscura,

toca las torres de la ola,

anida en la hirviente argamasa

del desordenado element

mientras la sal lo condecora

y silba la espuma frenética,

resbala volando el albatross

con sus grandes alas de música

dejando sobre la tormenta

un libro que sigue volando:

es el estatuto del viento

The wind sails the open sea

steered by the albatross;

this is the ship of the albatross;

that glides, falls, dances, climbs,

hangs motionless in the fading light,

touches the waves' towers,

settles down in the disorderly element's

seething mortar

while the salt crowns it with laurels

and the furious foam hisses,

skims the waves

with its great symphonic wings,

leaving above the tempest

a book that flies on forever:

the statute of the wind

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