It’s always a bittersweet feeling sailing north across the Drake Passage from Antarctica back to South America. The Drake Passage certainly lived up to its reputation on this leg of our journey, serving as the real ticket to go home. Of course, we do love the wildlife that the less calm condition of the Drake brings for us! As we made our way closer back to South America, we were treated to fantastic sightings of birds from sunrise to sunset. From the tiny cape petrels to the stunning light-mantled sooty albatross, and even passes by the largest flying bird on the planet, the great wandering albatross. When we could manage to peel our eyes away from the windows, we enjoyed the final presentations by our amazing expedition staff team: “On Assignment with National Geographic” by photographer Krista Rossow, and “Climate Change in Polar Regions and Solutions to a Big Dilemma” with Joe Holliday and Bud Lehnhausen. By early evening, we were essentially surrounded by large groups of giant petrels soaring closely alongside the ship. We rounded out the final evening of our expedition with our Captain’s Farewell cocktail party. The premier presentation of our guest slideshow is always a perfect way to reflect on our trip, but this evening was made even more special by a wonderful group of guests who shared incredibly kind words of what made the trip so memorable for them and toast to all the people that made it what it was. The inaugural Antarctic voyage of the beautiful National Geographic Endurance feels like it passed by in the blink of an eye, but is surely a trip we all will never forget.
National Geographic Explorer
Our voyage began in tumultuous seas, but by morning, the famed Drake Passage had calmed, settling into seas that rolled rather than rocking our hull. It is difficult to think of a more appropriate start than this. As we sail towards a land that at first glance seems harsh and unforgiving, but may reward adventurers with fortitude. Here now among the albatross and petrels, we find ourselves beyond the scope of civilization. What better place to be?