There was much trepidation and anticipation of entering into the famous Drake Passage overnight. But all on board National Geographic Explorer were pleasantly surprised when it was just a gentle rocking that commenced, beginning just after midnight and continuing throughout the day. Not quite a “Drake’s Lake,” but far calmer than we were mentally preparing for.

Blue skies and sunshine greeted those heading out to the back deck for some fresh air and bird spotting. In our wake, royal and giant albatrosses soared effortlessly flashing their gleaming white undersides as they arced and glided back and forth. Their massive 3.5 m wingspan became even clearer when gliding alongside giant petrels as well as some of the smaller Wilson’s storm petrels and blue petrels, which are miniature in comparison.

This morning guests met the Expedition Staff Team, their guides to experiencing the days ahead, followed by a photography lecture. We also learnt about the Antarctic Treaty, biosecurity measures, and our first introduction to the seabirds that have been soaring around the ship.

As dusk closes on our first full day at sea, we can only hope that the rest of our voyage is just as calm and pleasant.