Today felt more like a genuine Antarctic day than the previous.  But even though the skies were not as blue and the wind was a touch more apparent, our spirits were not dulled as we passed through the Lemaire Channel this morning.  Fog-like clouds covered the highest peaks that towered above the ship but we could still bask in the beauty that surrounded us.  Hanging glaciers were everywhere we looked as the bridge team of the National Geographic Orion safely maneuvered the ship through the narrow channel. 

We pressed through and made our first outing at Peterman Island, which was a significant site for the Charcot expedition that over-wintered there in the early 20th century.  Now, an Argentinean refuge hut stands there today, in amongst some molting Gentoo penguins and fledging chicks that will soon depart for the winter.  Some of us ventured across the site to find a few remaining Adelie penguins that have yet to leave as well. 

Once back on the ship, we made a short transit to the area that is unofficially known as “Iceberg Alley”, a location between Booth and Pleneau Island where large bergs are grounded after the tide brings them in.  While the weather wasn’t ideal upon our arrival, we enjoyed a presentation from the onboard National Geographic representative, Macduff Everton.  Once that was finished, the weather seemed to be a bit more cooperative and we could take a short zodiac cruise amongst the goliath ice bergs.  We marveled at the natural artwork of various shapes and colors that are so exquisitely sculpted by mother nature. 

Back on the ship we could dry off a bit and warm up, having a better respect for what it feels like to experience yet another element of what Antarctica can offer.