Jan 07, 2019 - National Geographic Orion
Today has been rather eventful! Typically, a Drake Passage crossing is bumpy with grey skies and a cold breeze. Today however the sun has been out, the winds have been almost non-existent and the sea has been relatively calm! Because the sea is so tranquil we were able to spot a large group of long-finned pilot whales. Even better - the captain could turn the ship so we could get a good view of them- a pretty rare marine mammal and incredible to see at such close range. While we slowed down, a group of albatross were performing a ritual in the water only 30m from our ship.
Today has also been busy in terms of briefings - so far we have covered kayak safety, Zodiac safety, Antarctic landing etiquette and guidelines, photo sessions and an amazing lecture on seabirds of the southern ocean. We also all have now been “decontaminated” so can now land on Antarctica with the knowledge that we are far less likely to bring any invasive species to the white continent.
This evening also marks an important event- We enter the Antarctic! Biologically speaking anyway. Where the cold polar oxygen rich waters of Antarctica meet the warmer waters of the Atlantic, mixing occurs and typically a spike in primary production (photosynthetic growth) which encourages organisms to graze on these marine plants which then continues up the food chain to whales and seabirds. This meeting point of water or convergence also acts as a barrier to many organisms who cannot survive the temperature difference. Thus the Southern Ocean has a large number of unique species displaying unusual characteristics and adaptations... Stay posted for more info!
Join us for updates, insider reports & special offers.