We have spent the day south of the Antarctic Circle in Marguerite Bay, far enough south that at this time of year the sun never goes below the horizon, and there is no night. It was a great day to contemplate the breadth and range of conditions that shape our experience here. Our original intention was to visit Stonington Island, site of historic US and UK bases which were used periodically from the 1930s through the 1970s, but as we approached, the calm winds out in Marguerite Bay rapidly changed to ferocious katabatic winds, driven by air flow off the mainland ice sheet and tumbling down through the mountain valleys and over the surrounding glaciers. So off we went to explore alternative sites with more favorable conditions. We found ourselves amongst minute lichens, multi-hued rocks, brooding penguins, ridges of glacial debris, and a vast white plain of sea ice, surrounded by mountains and glaciers.
National Geographic Endurance
National Geographic Endurance moved west today into the relatively milder waters of Falkland Plateau—moving out of the Southern Ocean and into the South Atlantic. Foggy conditions frustrated our sea-watching efforts, but we still saw some humpback whales and hourglass dolphins despite poor visibility. By evening, the fog lifted enough for us to enjoy views of wandering albatross and their smaller cousins, including various petrels.