National Geographic Orion is a steady ship, but we lucked out today and never had to truly see what she was made of. We had a most angelic sail today through the Drake Passage: hardly a wave was to be seen! In the morning the hotel team put on a festive Fruschoppen event, with traditional sausages, pretzels, beverages and German music! We made incredible time and rounded Cape Horn in the calmest conditions imaginable. So calm, in fact, that it was hard to imagine what all the historical fuss must have been about.  So calm, in fact, that we could almost read the poem engraved on the plaque near the albatross sculpture.

I am the albatross that awaits you

At the end of the world.

I am the forgotten souls of dead mariners

Who passed Cape Horn

From all the oceans of the world.

But they did not die

In the furious waves.

Today they sail on my wings

Toward eternity,

In the last crack

Of the Antarctic winds.

Sara Vial, 1992

Jonathan Zaccaria gave a thought provoking talk about the Ozone Layer in the Antarctic. As the ship meandered her way through the Beagle Channel, we were treated with stunning views of black-browed albatross, giant petrels, imperial shags and even the occasional Magellanic penguin!

Tom Ritchie gave an entertaining presentation about sailor superstitions as we indulged ourselves during teatime!  And then, just like that, all of a sudden, it was time for the captain’s farewell cocktails. It is hard to believe the journey is over. Saying goodbye to the ice, to the penguins, to the whales, to the Antarctic light is not an easy task, but I have a feeling that some of us have already started daydreaming about a return trip. I know that I am not the only one that is addicted to the magical great white continent of Antarctica!