Today we celebrated the last day of 2021 by traveling south to Antarctica on a full day at sea cruising the Drake Passage. What a perfect way to finish the year, leaving on an extraordinary expedition to one of the truly wild places on earth! Our vessel National Geographic Resolution cut through the waves smoothly throughout the day, making the notoriously rough and difficult experience of crossing the Drake Passage seem simply like a fun adventure. Starting early in the morning, seabirds could be seen swooping and gliding around the ship as we sipped hot coffee and snacked on freshly baked pastries. Occasionally, we could see large humpback whale blows fill the air with mist in the distance on this bright sunny day. By afternoon we had started preparing for our big transition to Antarctica by checking and fitting our expedition clothes, working on photographic techniques with Andrew Peacock, our talented Photo Instructor onboard, and learning the IAATO rules about conservation and viewing wildlife such as seals and penguins in Antarctica. Then in the evening, we got together and celebrated New Year’s Eve at the Captain’s Welcome Cocktail Party in the Ice Lounge. The day went by quickly, we had so much to do and learn before tomorrow. We all couldn’t be more excited to see what 2022 will bring in the Southern Ocean! Happy New Year!
National Geographic Resolution
Morning light brought with it a fantastic surprise. Killer whales were sighted early, and an unexpected wakeup call brought everyone out of bed around 6:30. We were treated to nearly an hour of killer whale fun. These were Type A killer whales that specialize in predating on marine mammals. As the dark of night set in, the National Geographic Resolution left the Drake Passage behind and headed into the Beagle Channel. As the ship approached land, we began to see a change in the bird life that surrounded the ship. Large sea birds, like the royal albatross, began to fade away. We began to see more cormorants and land birds. Everyone gazed out the windows, keen to see trees again. It was a wonderful end to a fantastic New Year’s trip!