After an amazing time exploring the Antarctic Peninsula, we awoke on the final day of our journey to blue skies and wonderfully calm seas as we neared the end of the infamous Drake Passage. Right out of the gates in the morning, Naturalist Madalena Patacho told us the story of Magellan, before our attention was drawn to the slight detour we had made to sail by Cape Horn. As we made our way towards the Beagle Channel, we enjoyed views of Peale’s dolphins riding the X-bow of the National Geographic Endurance. Soon after lunch, the fresh breeze beckoned us outside again to appreciate the smell of earth and trees as we made our way back into the southern tip of South America, just in time to listen to naturalist Conor Ryan give a talk on “The Smell of the Sea.” Several species of seabirds – from albatross to petrels and penguins – and views of sei whales were seen around the ship in the afternoon. We finally rounded out our last day on board this magnificent ship with the world premiere of the Guest Slideshow, before celebrating our experience over the last 10 days at Captain Aaron Woods’ farewell cocktail party.
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.