Strait of Magellan, Chile, 10/30/2017, National Geographic Orion
National Geographic Orion
We have finally left the open ocean behind. Gone are the tropics, the blue water, and the endless horizon. We awoke today to sunny but cool temperatures and to land! Most people take for granted always seeing land. But for us on this journey it has been a long time. To see distant snowcapped mountains, buildings, trees, and especially cars certainly seemed weird.
Like always, the crew bedazzled us with their preparations for Halloween. Delicious pumpkin soup was a good indication of what was going on today. The pumpkin carving contest started it off, with a mind-blowing array of creativity. Soon the costumes appeared, followed by the entertainment……well, you had to be here to understand. It was too incredible to share with those of you who were not here.
Mike learned early on that the best way to escape Ohio was to become a marine biologist. During college at Wittenberg University he attended a semester at Duke University's Marine Lab — that time only confirmed his love for all things oceanic and ma...
Today was another day at sea as National Geographic Explorer transitioned across the Atlantic. Our next stop is Tristan da Cunha. Days at sea tend to be similar from one day to the next. Many guests search for birds that use the wind for their long flights. You are certain to find a few staff members on deck with their binoculars and cameras. If you venture up to the bridge on windy days, there are always interesting things to observe. Once again, we enjoyed great lectures today. In the lounge, Jim Kelley presented on, “Thermohaline Circulation of the Atlantic.” After that, Kelly Ferron presented on, “Pinnipeds of the Falkland Islands and South Georgia.” After lunch, David Cothran ventured into the Circle of Truth with a photography workshop called, “Settings and Techniques for Birds in Flight.” Finally, Mark Vogler shared his presentation, “Living in Antarctica: Life at McMurdo.” It is safe to say that it was a knowledge-filled day with many great presenters. The day ended with the wonderful series Frozen Planet II, Episode 4: Frozen South .
hikers on shore at the beginning of the famous Shackleton Hike. They followed the last few miles of the great explorer’s journey across the island to rescue at the Stromness whaling station. National Geographic Explorer made her way around to Stromness Harbour. From there, we set out on hikes along the beach or up the valley to Shackleton Waterfall, a wonderful landmark.
The early hours of the morning found us in Maiviken, where a few of our bravest guests disembarked to take on our earliest and longest hike yet. Only a few faint rays of sun, the lazy undulations of kelp on the surface, and a group of curious seal pups welcomed us on the landing. Our target was the old whaling station at Grytviken. The early hikers and the rest of the expedition joined together to wander around the skeleton of the station, the church, and its wonderful library. It was a unique moment for us to catch our breath and stare out into the ocean, sheltered in the shade of ships abandoned half a century ago. However, staring and wandering was not all we did. We soon came upon one of the landmarks of this voyage, a moment that most of us had been looking forward to: the toast at Sir Ernest Shackleton’s grave. It has been over a hundred years since The Boss died, and while there is nothing we would love more than to have him back and listen to his stories, we find comfort in making sure he will not be forgotten. We celebrated him in the same manner as many others have before us. Meanwhile, our undersea team was busy diving next to one of the piers at Grytviken, so we could all enjoy the wonders on this side of the surface as well as those that rest below. To complete an already wonderful day, we sailed to Ocean Harbour. We split into groups for hikes of different lengths and elevations so we could all explore the wonders of this bay and its rich history. We stopped at the oldest grave on the island, that of Frank Cabrial, a sealer who died in 1820. We observed the wreck of the Bayard , a three-masted ship that was abandoned after she was blown loose by a gale from her mooring in the bay. Fur seal pups, gentoo penguins, and more than a few elephant seals stared at us as we wrapped up the day and set off to our next destination.