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At Sea

We awoke with the power of the Drake Passage still very evident around us. Many of us had long since acquired our sea legs, but there was still a ship wide anticipation of reaching the lee of Cape Horn and the calmer seas we would encounter there. After a leisurely breakfast, we joined fellow guest Dr. Douglas Mader to find out more about what to do when whales and dolphins wash ashore in his talk “Managing cetacean strandings.” He explained that it is still not known why dolphins and whales strand, though some possibilities may be pollution, avoidance of predators, illness or the use of sonar by navy ships. Even electrical storms may temporarily affect an animal’s ability to navigate effectively.

We then met with Cruise Director Jannie Cloete for a disembarkation briefing to learn about our travel details once we disembark the ship in Ushuaia. This was followed by a sneak preview of the second half of the expedition DVD produced by Videographer Nathalie Martin. The footage was amazing, and our experiences in the Antarctic seemed both years ago and yesterday at the same time. After lunch, Historian David Wilson presented a talk entitled “Murder in the Land of Fire: Savagery, Darwin and the tale of Jemmy Button.” As the distance between the Explorer II and the southern tip of South America grew smaller and smaller, David’s lecture provided some fascinating historical background on Tierra del Fuego.

Our last formal activity of the day was an Expedition Overview. Expedition Leader JD Massyn summarized the amazing journey we had all taken together. Then we watched a wonderful retrospective slide show of our journey put together by the Expedition Team. It featured photos of our various landings and many people recognized themselves disguised behind red parkas and rubber boots. There were some incredible images and we were stunned when we realized how lucky we had been with the weather in Antarctica, and with the wildlife we had encountered.

We also raffled tickets to benefit the Explorer II crew welfare fund, as well as the Allied Whale/College of the Atlantic Whale Catalogue. Guests who purchased tickets stood the chance of winning a sea chart with our route and signed by the senior officers onboard, or a signed print by Kim Chater of the Falkland Island. There was excitement in the room as the winning numbers were announced, and we were all very grateful to those that participated in the bidding.

The final days of this expedition have been dominated by reflection and celebration. We have reached the end of our exploration of Antarctica. It is a place beyond description, one both extremely powerful and fragile at the same time. With all that we have experienced and learned, we can return home with a new found knowledge of how special a place Antarctica is, and how important it will be to protect it for future generations.


Jannie Cloete, our Cruise Director, welcomes guests into the Forward Lounge for the Captain's Farewell Cocktail

Early morning finds us mid-Drake, enjoying a number seven sea state

Enjoying a game of cards in the Verandah Restaurant

Roberto Erlano, our incinerator manager, does a magnificent job of embellishing a chart depicting our voyage for the Crew Welfare Fund Raffle

We bid a fond farewell to the Wandering Albatross of the mighty Drake Passage

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* Please Note: Daily cruise logs are posted each day based on communications and log entries received from the vessel. We will strive to keep the cruise log's updated daily, however, communications are dependent on internet connection and delays may occur due to communication interruptions and other variables outside of A&K's control. Your patience is appreciated.