We awoke this morning to another day of brilliant sunshine and calm conditions, having transited eastward in the Gerlache Strait to the vicinity of Trinity Island, near the eastern edge of the Palmer Archipelago. The Spert Island Group is built from dark basaltic rocks extending southwest from Trinity Island, with dramatic bluffs, channels, and arches, with icebergs swept up against a lee shore, and with nesting seabirds from Antarctic terns to chinstrap penguins; perfect for exciting Zodiac cruising when the conditions allow. For the afternoon we crossed the strait to Cierva Cove, one of the most biodiverse areas of the Antarctic peninsula (and specially protected for scientific research), whose interior is filled with the wreckage of ice calved off along miles of active glacier front.
National Geographic Orion
Our time has come, the circle is closed. Twenty days ago, we left Ushuaia. Headed towards Antarctica, the infamous Drake Passage, and certainly some unknown. Now we return, after an incredible voyage to Antarctica, South Georgia, the Falklands, and a lot of ocean in between. Calm seas in the Beagle channel were certainly enjoyed, but it was a bit shocking to see trees and civilization. We did enjoy the sunshine, dolphins, and abundant birds. I think for many of us, we wished we were heading back out instead of into Ushuaia, but the memories we have created will last a lifetime.