This morning we navigated through the seven-mile long Lemaire Channel, a narrow and absolutely stunning passage past towering mountains, glaciers, and icebergs. When we arrived at the Yalour Islands, we paddled kayaks through glassy water and brash ice. Zodiacs cruised around the low, rocky islets, where Adélie penguins were nesting on patches of bare rock. Upon returning to the ship, nearly 60 brave guests did the polar plunge—they jumped into the icy Antarctic water (and quickly got out!) Under clear skies in Paradise Bay, we had glorious views from a snowy hilltop, then we sat on our rears and slid downhill—a very fun ride! After dinner, the twilight seemed to last forever as white mountains glowed under magical light.
National Geographic Explorer
As we crossed the Drake Passage, we partook in a thorough decontamination protocol to prepare for our landfall on the Antarctic continent today. Boots were scrubbed, bags were vacuumed out, and no seed was left clinging to a Velcro strap. By doing this we greatly reduced the chance of unwittingly ferrying unwanted hitchhikers like plants, fungal spores, or pathogens to the White Continent. We are now ready for Antarctica!