It is difficult to believe we’re on our last expedition landing day. Overnight we were peacefully anchored in Ship Cove and woke up to another fine morning. Even after such an active, eventful voyage, there was still an atmosphere of enthusiasm to seize this final day ashore. Disembarking near the New Island Settlement, we went on a walk through short grass to the tussock atop mixed cliffside colonies of black-browed albatross, rockhopper penguins, and imperial shags. After returning for a quick lunch on board, some of us opted for a long hike along the northern spine of the island to a small sandy beach on the northwest side. The rest of us rode the National Geographic Endurance around the island to meet our comrades on the beach or on the hillsides above the cove.
National Geographic Resolution
Any true voyage contains the element of return. As we approached South America, we reflected on our voyage thus far. Nearly three weeks ago, we cast our lines from Ushuaia and sailed towards the seventh continent. We saw corners of the world privy only to a few…truly special experiences that we will hold close for our lifetimes. Seabirds circled the ship, coming in and out of our wake to pay visits. These beautiful animals wander the ocean. They are at home at sea, an alien concept to us terrestrial animals. As the day progressed, the landscape began to unravel. Snowy peaks in the distance eventually gave way to a forested landscape, quite a shock as we had not seen proper trees in weeks! For our final wildlife encounter, we spent time with a group of killer whales. Our incredible ship and bridge team allowed close and personal views of these amazing animals. Aboard the ship, we hosted presentations with topics on photography and how to take observations from our voyage and share them with the scientific community. The hotel department pampered us with delicious treats. Our much-anticipated auction was a lively hit, raising money for our crew fund and conservation on South Georgia. In the afternoon, we met our pilots on the eastern edge of the Beagle Channel. Under their guidance, we will be dockside in a few hours, the same location we departed from three weeks ago. It feels like a lifetime has passed, bursting with countless memories. Memories we look forward to taking home with us and sharing with our loved ones and the world.