Daily Expedition Reports

Daily reports from our days in the field

  • Cape Horn and the Beagle Channel

    After an entire voyage of largely fine weather and calm seas we awoke to slightly more motion than we had yet experienced. Shortly after 6 a.m. the jagged headland of fabled Cape Horn began to appear out of the mist and low clouds that so often shroud this austere landscape. Flocks of sooty shearwaters, several species of albatrosses, and tiny storm petrels swarmed over the waves, attracted to their prey in these nutrient-rich waters created here by the upwelling of deep ocean currents. As our cozy little ship approached to within three miles of the cape we turned eastward and crossed the imaginary line taking us from the South Pacific into the South Atlantic. With the wind now directly behind us, our ride smoothed out as we made our way toward the eastern entrance to the Beagle Channel.

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  • Drake Passage Northbound

    The wonders and good luck never stop. Having had a relatively smooth beginning of the voyage heading across the Drake Passage in calm seas and then spectacular weather during our time along the Antarctic Peninsula, we were expecting a different kind of passage northward at the end of the voyage. But once again we were treated to a smooth ride. Leaving the South Shetland Islands our evening was restful and there was no reason for a wake-up call in the morning. People got up when they wanted and wandered down to the dining room for breakfast.  Some may have even decided to sleep through the day’s first meal.

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  • Drake Passage and Beagle Channel

    Early this morning around 7:00 am National Geographic Orion encountered a small group of rarely encountered long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas). The calm conditions of the Drake Passage allowed some our early bird guests to view these charismatic cetaceans. The calm conditions also allowed our guests to view the scenic back drop of Cape Horn, our first opportunity to view the continent of South America. A warm breeze and the scent of the coast greeted our guests as they enjoyed their morning coffee. Our naturalists had a quick glimpse of the Peale’s dolphin (lagenorhynchus australis) near the entrance of the Beagle Channel.

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  • The Drake Passage

    We woke up to a gentle rolling in the Drake Passage, but without a single whitecap. A lone black-browed albatross followed in our wake. Without a wake-up call, there was a relaxed energy around the ship, as we caught up on our rest and had time to process the amazing, magical place we were sailing from. But not too much time! A full itinerary was set for the day! First thing on our schedule was an amazing Frühschoppen put on by the galley team, complete with sausages, pretzels, and a Bloody Mary bar!

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  • South Shetland Islands, Antarctica

    Today was a magical last day, one that will dance around in our hearts and minds for a long time to come. We began the day sailing into an active caldera, Deception Island, which last erupted in 1969 and wears the scars of its many eruptions inside the main caldera. Intrepid, sweaty hikers climbed to the top of the most recently formed caldera, while others, enjoying a more contemplative pace, explored Caldera Lake. 

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  • Lemaire, Port Lockroy, Gerlache Strait

    This expedition has been one day after another of incredible experiences. Each day we ask ourselves what could possibly compare to the previous day, and yet every day we seem to come away with that same feeling: How can we ever top this?

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  • Neko Harbor & Useful Island, Antarctica

    We woke up to another beautiful bluebird day on the white continent. We were in Neko Harbor on the eastern shore of Andvord Bay. Neko Harbor gets its name from a whaling ship that sailed the area in the early 1900s. National Geographic Explorer nosed its way up to the shore. We landed on the mainland to explore the terrain around a gentoo penguin colony with its well-traveled penguin highways.

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  • Entienne Bay, Danco Island

    Today aboard National Geographic Orion, we awoke to wonderfully soft light blanketing the spectacular mountain ranges of the southern Gerlache Strait. By breakfast time, we arrived at our intended destination, Entienne Bay.

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  • Lemaire Channel, Antarctic Peninsula

    I’m not sure it would be possible to pack more activities into an expedition day than we did today! In very pleasant, almost windless conditions under a mostly blue sky, we woke early for a ship cruise through the spectacular Lemaire Channel before breakfast followed by two shore landings with hikes, kayaking, and finally, a polar plunge. Phew, what a busy day for expedition staff and guests alike.

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  • Spert Island & Cierva Cove

    The guests and crew of National Geographic Orion were again blessed with wonderfully benign conditions, which allowed us to take Zodiacs to two spectacular locations.

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