The frozen air of Antarctica is like a wave in the Drake Passage. It hits you with all its strength: you feel it on your skin, then inside your nose, all the way to your lungs. You never make peace with this feeling. On cold winter days, it will come back to remind us of our time spent at the bottom of the world.
We left the White Continent, but the adventure is far from over. The Drake Passage is ahead. It’s going to be rough.
As we go out on deck, the wind is ferocious, the air still frozen. We are still below the Antarctic Convergence, and the temperature remains the same as the one we experienced farther south. The black-browed albatrosses and the cape petrels soaring near the ship are completely untouched by the force of these elements. The wind is their close ally, and they use it in the best possible way to accomplish their endless journeys above the Southern Seas.
On board National Geographic Resolution, we cope with the pitch and rolling. Some of us engage in some reading in the library, others simply look at the horizon and imagine Cape Horn appearing in the distance. We also have some interesting lectures by our incredible Expedition Staff.
Andreas tells us the always amazing story of Ernest Shackleton and the fate of the Endurance. Then it is time for David to talk about, “Adaptations of Antarctic Wildlife to the Extreme Cold.” The afternoon passes, and Nicole Bransome, our IAATO observer, tells us about “Antarctic Krill Fisheries Management and ANT Ocean Conservation.”
While these lectures take place, our distance from Antarctica increases. The movements of the ship become more noticeable. We cross the Convergence.
The air feels warm, wet.
A voice within us says, “Turn back! Turn back!”
We might well do so, one day. But for now, we head north. Another continent will soon appear on the horizon.