[DAY 11] - Still At Sea, Drake Passage Northward

March 18, 2018

The Drake Shake! Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’… for many, a bit of a bumpy night. And although the weather is of no consequence, the continuous rolling motion of the ship begins to bear on a few too many nerves. Some of us opt not to go to the dining room for breakfast and instead stay in the horizontal comfort of our bunks for a couple more hours.

During the morning the divers and the kayakers meet in their groups to wrap things up with their guides and return all gear. At 10.30 Doctor Tanja gives a splendid talk about her experience working with emperor penguins at Cape Washington and the incredible conditions both crew and penguin endured on the shoot. The photographers are happy campers today as we were treated to an hour after hour of incredibly-close wandering albatross, southern royal albatross and southern giant petrel riding the windbreak of the ship. The leviathan birds drop over our heads just above the bridge wings pleasing those below them.

After a delicious lunch, we watch a fascinating (and at times hilarious) film about rounding Cape Horn, while the Plancius continues its battle onwards towards the Beagle Channel. Making good progress on our schedule, we are there in time for sunset and, though the sky is a little grey, it finally feels like this epic voyage is coming to an end. A gorgeous little Magellanic diving petrel floats next to the ship delighting birders on deck one last time.

Preparations are made for entering the Beagle Channel, and in the final few hours of sailing, we are joined by yet more wandering albatrosses, Imperial cormorants, and sooty shearwaters. We clearly are back to a different wildlife realm. After the mammoth ‘return of the rubber boots’, Bruce gives us a fantastic slide show of the entire trip reminding us just how much we’d seen and done in such a short time – there were pangs of nostalgia all round and some happy tears. What an adventure it’s been!