The National Geographic Endurance awoke to moody skies in Marguerite Bay, far below the Antarctic Circle. We were safely tucked in next to Pourquois Pas Island, a mountainous island named after Jean-Baptiste Charcot’s expedition ship.

In true expedition style, the plans for our morning outing evolved into a marvelous Zodiac cruise. We had stunningly dynamic Antarctic weather with wind and waves, snow flurries and sunshine. Every moment was everchanging and we got to experience the elements in all her glory. Dozens and dozens of snow petrels flew overhead. As far as I can tell, we have witnessed an undocumented large colony of nesting snow petrels on the cliff side of Pourquois Pas Island—true angels of the Antarctic. As our Zodiacs maneuvered towards the mouth of the glacier, we got our first look at spectacular icebergs with stunning cerulean colors. Weddell seals, crabeater seals, brown skuas, and Adelie penguins took refuge on the ice and we were lucky to observe them relaxing and hunkered down away from the wind.

Our afternoon at sea afforded us time to learn more in depth iPhone photography tricks from our photo instructor, Anna Mazurek. As we sailed north adjacent to Adelaide Island, stunning tabular icebergs appeared in the sunshine and we even had a peek at a few humpback whales. Following a generous teatime spread from the hotel staff, Madalena Patacho gave a wonderful presentation on Pinnipeds of the Southern Ocean.

Time flies when you are learning, because suddenly it was time for our briefing and recap. While the expedition team gave a fabulous recap of the day, in the background light-mantled sooty albatross made synchronized courtship flights around the ship. I was in absolute heaven watching these stunning creatures of the sea. What a time to be alive!