Early risers onboard the National Geographic Endurance witnessed our entrance into the fog-laden boundary signaling the abrupt change in sea surface temperature that characterizes the Antarctic Convergence Zone, the transition into the waters that define the Antarctic continent. When we crossed the so-called polar front and emerged from the clouds, we were met by several species of Southern Ocean seabirds whose erratic flight perfectly matched the nature of the winds that whipped across the surface of every wave crest. Royal and light-mantled sooty albatrosses dipped low into the troughs, as pintado petrels and southern fulmars broke straight through the salt spray, pausing only to skim the surface or shake water from their wings. Winged wanderers continued to surround the vessel as we retreated indoors throughout the day to learn from expedition staff presentations - from photography tips to glaciology facts to a fun collection of Antarctic curiosities - all in preparation for the next several days of exploring. The excitement and anticipation of the past two days at sea culminated in a blast of the ship’s horn and a toast to crossing the Antarctic Circle just after dinner. We can hardly wait to set our eyes (and feet!) on the continent tomorrow.
National Geographic Explorer