National Geographic photographer and filmmaker James Balog has recently been on NPR, given a TED talk, and spoken to several news outlets about his film Chasing Ice. Last month he joined us aboard National Geographic Explorer in Antarctica, where we screened his film and he spoke with guests. And this summer, though Balog won’t be aboard, Explorer will venture to Ilulissat glacier—where his crew filmed the largest glacial calving event ever recorded.
The host of the PBS travel series Music Voyager and founder of the record label Cumbancha, Jacob Edgar was profiled in the latest Afar magazine. Jacob travels the globe, seeking out unique, moving music to sign to his label and share with the world. Last year he traveled up the entire coast of West Africa with us aboard National Geographic Explorer, visiting the dazzling markets of the coastal cities always on the hunt for the new, intriguing music. Our video chronicler joined him as he visited the market in Dakar to see what locals were listening to, buying, and selling.
And next year, Jacob will join us again aboard National Geographic Explorer lending his unique expertise to our guests on two epic voyages: Exploring Africa’s West Coast in March, and again on our Epic South America expedition in September 2013.
On a wind-whipped day in Visby, Sweden our guests aboard National Geographic Explorertook a bike ride outside of the city, through the woods, and along the coast to the sheer limestone cliffs looking out along the west side of Gotland. The cultural expedition visits all nine countries that boarder the Baltic Sea. And next year’s expedition among all countries bordering the Baltic Sea will prove to be even more epic in scope. A single departure, it is a circumnavigation over 16 days.
Google Maps Street View has long allowed users to zoom down to street-level to see close-ups of city storefronts and suburban homes. The images are shot by car-mounted cameras that Google employees have driven over millions of miles of roads across the U.S. Together with The Catlin Seaview Survey, Google developed an undersea Street View camera capable of offering an intimate look at these ecosystems—as if one’s swimming above and among them while snorkeling or Scuba diving.
While this is the first time undersea images have been made available on Google Maps, it’s not the first time Google has let us glimpse beneath the sea. A couple years ago they added an Ocean layer to Google Earth. That project was spearheaded by National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Sylvia Earle, and created using many photos and videos from Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic.
Google Maps ‘Reef View’ offers an easy way for armchair adventurers to explore the planet’s beautiful, remote places. And hopefully as more people see these delicate reefs, more of them will advocate for their preservation and protection.
Last April in Baja California our guests spotted huge aggregations of these mobula rays in the Sea of Cortez. On a bright, sunny, calm day we were able to see deep into the water. For each ray that leapt into the air hundreds more circled below feeding. This excellent BBC footage captures a bit of the same phenomenon.
A crewmember on the Sea Shepherd in Antarctica captured this unusual sequence of images a couple years ago. “I literally raised my camera to my eye (Canon 1D Mark II w/70-200/2.8L lens), and the arch collapsed. I mashed the shutter button down and captured 20 frames—in bursts. I shot in bursts because I was afraid that the buffer wouldn’t hold.” He put it together those shots in this 9-second clip of the iceberg arch’s collapse. Antarctica is the world’s last great wilderness—come see it for yourself.
NASA also recently released this image of the top of the world, that includes the entire high Arctic region. It’s compiled from 15 satellite passes of a spacecraft that circled earth pole-to-pole in May and offers a look from a seldom-seen vantage point.
Casey Anderson, a bear expert and host of Nat Geo Wild’s program America The Wild, joined us in Alaska last month. Here he shares some insight into how the bears along the shore are interacting with us even as we sit and watch them from afar.
The National Geographic show Untamed Americas featured what is likely the largest school of mobular rays ever filmed. The massive school was spotted off the coast of Baja California in the Sea of Cortez last season. Our guests aboard National Geographic Sea Bird last season were witnesses to a major uptick in the number of mobular rays observed, though experts are divided on just why so many rays massed in the Sea of Cortez—and whether they’ll be back next season.