Drake Passage
  • Daily Expedition Reports
  • 10 Jan 2022

Drake Passage, 1/10/2022, National Geographic Explorer

  • Aboard the National Geographic Explorer
  • Antarctica

Today we awoke in the Drake Passage after experiencing its first swells during the night. We left Tierra del Fuego far behind, and we were finally on our way to the White Continent. We sailed south, propelled along by a stiff wind and a five-meter swell at our back. Our ride was remarkably comfortable throughout the day.

Strong winds made it the perfect day to spot the pelagic seabirds that call the Drake Passage and the Southern Ocean their home. Throughout the day, we watched birds soaring from the aft sundeck and outer decks. It was a great day for albatrosses, with a half dozen southern royal albatrosses following us at various points. We also spotted a juvenile wandering albatross and many black-browed albatrosses. The young wanderer came quite close, providing all on board with spectacular views of its size and agility. Along with albatrosses, we were greeted by many northern giant petrels, several white-chinned petrels, a blue petrel and both Antarctic and slender-billed prions. We even saw an albatross alight to find food. Giant petrels seeking an easy meal also saw this bird and quickly gave chase.

Naturalists taught guests how to identify bird species and provided tips and tricks to photograph the fast-flying birds. Our expert naturalist offered presentations on seabirds and their adaptations and on the oceanography of the Southern Ocean. These presentations sparked curiosity and deepened our knowledge.

With the wind and waves at our back, it was the perfect day to experience the weather, power and life of the Drake Passage. We closed the evening with our first cocktail hour, an inspiring recap, and dreams of seeing the South Shetland Islands tomorrow.

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