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Lake Eva & Chatham Strait

The crew of the National Geographic Sea Lion cast off lines from Bartlett Cove shortly after 10 p.m., and we sailed out of Glacier Bay. The decks became quiet as people turned in for the night. An hour later, the expedition leader’s voice came quietly over the PA to announce that the sky was lit up with Northern Lights. Doors opened and people spilled out of cabins and made their way to the bow. Bright white light streaked and curtained across the sky. Those yawning in the morning said it was well worth it.  In the morning we awakened near the mouth of Peril Strait. Read More>

Aug 28, 2014 National Geographic Sea Lion in Alaska

Ideal Cove & Petersburg

After spending the night cruising through Chatham Strait and Frederick Sound, the National Geographic Sea Bird passed by the town of Petersburg on our way to Ideal Cove on Mitkof Island, the site for our morning activities. We’ll be doing a variety of hikes this morning, from a vigorous aerobic one, to a more casual and leisurely walk. All of them are on a narrow boardwalk trail that loops for miles around several lakes in the area. This is part of a vast system of trails that have been created and maintained by the U.S. Forest Service, both on islands and the mainland of Southeast Alaska, in the Tongass National Forest. Things are changing quickly at this time of year in Alaska, flowers fading, colors turning, with different mushrooms emerging in the forest. Read More>

Aug 28, 2014 National Geographic Sea Bird in Alaska

Santiago Island

Today we started our day on the western side of Santiago Island.  After an early wake up call, we landed at Espumilla Beach.  It is a place covered with an interesting mix of volcanic ashes and olivine sand where we spotted sea turtles mating very close to the beach. There were a few tracks made by sea turtles and holes made by ghost crabs.  After crossing a button mangrove forest we passed by a dry brackish lagoon, evidence of the cold, dry season that we are experiencing.  Then we continued through an area covered by huge Palo Santos trees where the wet soil gave off a very enjoyable smell. A couple of Galapagos hawks and mockingbirds were spotted, then we went back to beach and back onboard National Geographic Islander. It was a great experience. In the late morning we visited Buccaneer Cove. Read More>

Aug 28, 2014 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

Santa Cruz Island

Another day in paradise! The whole day was dedicated to the most emblematic animal species of the Galápagos Islands, the wonderful giant tortoises. We spent the morning learning about one of the most successful conservation projects run by the Galapagos National Park Service, the captive breeding and release program of the giant tortoises of the Galapagos. For several decades already titanic efforts have been done in order to save the giant tortoises from extinction and to recover vanishing populations.   One remarkable example of conservation is the case of the Española giant tortoises. Read More>

Aug 28, 2014 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Approaching Baffin Island

An unavoidable facet of exploring by ship is the need to maintain and to fuel the vessel. For as long as humans have been venturing far from home by boat, the logistics of keeping a vessel in ‘ship shape’ is as important as finding food and staying healthy. With a track that leads through sparsely populated areas and often ice-clogged ports, attaining fuel for National Geographic Explorer can be a tricky process. Luckily for us, in this region of the Canadian Arctic, it’s possible to get fuel while still underway at sea. For much of the day, we were tied to the Danish refueling vessel Oratank receiving the fuel necessary to complete the final leg of our grand journey. Yet, the red tanker off our bow wasn’t our only companion.  Many of us stared off into the fog, endless rows of waves pulling us into a meditative trance as we slipped into the infinity of thoughts. Read More>

Aug 28, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Arctic

Nares Strait, Smith Sound & Baffin Bay

After the sensory overload of the past two days spent on Ellesmere Island, today has been a most opportune hiatus and has allowed us to regroup, reflect, and rest. However there have been many activities to keep us occupied. The weather conditions have continued to be calm; the skies clear in the morning and a lot of ice about and then slowly into serene open waters with little ice and more overcast conditions. Read More>

Aug 27, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Arctic

Glacier Bay

National Geographic Sea Lion continued her northerly passage in Tarr Inlet throughout the night and very early this morning. Just before sunrise she was at the northern end of Composite Island and the first views of Mount Fairweather, at over 15,000 feet in height, glowed in the first hint of sunrise light. A healthy portion of our fellow travelers arrived on the bow by 5:30am, in hopes of a spectacular sunrise, and it was beginning wonderfully. A common occurrence in Glacier Bay is the pushing of clouds away from the outer coast Fairweather Mountain Range, opening up clear skies and phenomenal views of some of the most glorious mountain and glacier viewing in North America. This was our luck this morning.   Slowly, the crowd on the bow increased as we made our way around Jaw Point and the first looks of Johns Hopkins Inlet and Glacier came into view. Read More>

Aug 27, 2014 National Geographic Sea Lion in Alaska

Chatham Straight, Saook Bay

In nature, there are no bad guys, everything serves its purpose and eventually, at the end of their life, they become the sustenance for something else. This morning our wake-up call came early. We had arrived at the carcass of a humpback whale killed in a collision with a ship. The authorities had towed it to the beach on Admiralty Island and there it has been feeding many bears for the last few weeks. This morning, as we arrived, seven brown bears were feeding. Fortunately, time and the process of decay spared us from seeing the whale as anything but a mass of unrecognizable flesh, which afforded us incredible views of so many bears feeding together on the edge of the forest. When we first came on deck, many of us were still half asleep; now, it was hard to believe that the day had only just begun.   After breakfast we began a long sail through the Chatham Straits. Read More>

Aug 27, 2014 National Geographic Sea Bird in Alaska

Isabela

The largest island of the Galapagos is made up of five and a half volcanos, most of them still active. In the morning we set out for a hike at a place called Urbina Bay. A black sand beach where sea turtles nest is our landing place. We put our shoes on and we are ready to follow a loop trail heading inland and then along the shore.  Many land birds are usually the first to welcome us here.  Other reptiles of the area are the beautiful yellow land iguanas and the lava lizards. Read More>

Aug 27, 2014 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

Santiago Island

Santiago Island is an island that brings us hope for the success of the Galapagos archipelago. This island is probably one of the largest areas to be restored on our planet. The story was not the same just two decades ago. Thousands of goats and feral pigs were completely eradicated from the whole Island. Read More>

Aug 27, 2014 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

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Please note: All Daily Expedition Reports (DER's) are posted Monday-Friday, during normal business hours.