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Gardner Bay and Punta Suarez

Today we started our day on a beautiful white sandy beach called Gardner Beach, where California sea lions were lying about along with Hood mockingbirds, which were mainly interested in the flies that the sea lions attracted. The sky was a bit cloudy but the water was clear, and we proceeded to snorkel from the beach with the beginners, while the advanced went to Gardner Island for deep water snorkeling. In the late morning, several guests went kayaking along the northern shoreline and afterwards we had lunch as we sailed west on the National Geographic Endeavour towards Punta Suarez. Read More>

Sep 25, 2016 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Hells Canyon and Nez Perce National Historic Park

The last full day of our journey up the Columbia and Snake rivers was sunny and warm. We disembarked the National Geographic Sea Lion early this morning and stepped onto our jet boats. We spent much of the day on these speedy craft, going more than 50 miles up the Snake River into Hells Canyon. At 8,000 feet from top to bottom, Hells Canyon is the deepest river canyon in North America. Yes, even deeper than the Grand Canyon. The jet boat ride gave us a wonderful opportunity to see the canyon from within. Read More>

Sep 25, 2016 National Geographic Sea Lion in Pacific Northwest

Iricahua and Yarapa River

Our last day exploring the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve began with an overcast sunrise. The temperature was fresh enough to motivate us to have our breakfast fast and hurry to load the skiffs. Iricahua is another part of the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. Read More>

Sep 24, 2016 Delfin II in Amazon

San Cristobal Island

 Our time on the Islands will come to an end this evening and in order to make the finale special, we visited the Island of San Cristobal. This island is one of the first to be colonized by the government of Ecuador, and where the capital of the archipelago is located. In the morning we visited a place known as Punta Pitt. Read More>

Sep 24, 2016 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

Clarkston and Hells Canyon

Low clouds in the east turned red-violet just before sunrise as the National Geographic Sea Bird was nearing our dock in Clarkston, Washington. As Captain Kay eased our little ship alongside, Bos’n jumped onto the dock and made all of the lines fast. Soon after breakfast we boarded jet boats piloted by Cap’n Chuck and Cap’n Eric and away we went upstream on the Snake River on this gorgeous and sunny morning, bound for wild and scenic Hells Canyon, the deepest river canyon in America. Near the river’s edge flocks of Canada geese and American coots rested on the water. A pair of blue-winged teal flew across the river right in front of our jet boat. Great blue herons stood silent like sentinels on the riverbanks, waiting for hapless fish to swim by. As we headed on upstream, great walls of layered lava flows loomed above us. Read More>

Sep 24, 2016 National Geographic Sea Bird in Pacific Northwest

The Snake River, Lower Monumental Dam and Palouse River

Around three A.M the National Geographic Sea Lion diverged from the mighty Columbia River and headed northeast up the Snake River. While everyone aboard was sleeping, the Sea Lion crossed through two locks overnight; the McNary Dam as well as Ice Harbor. Ice harbor is the closest dam to the mouth of the Snake. Shortly after breakfast we received word from the lockmaster at Lower Monumental Dam that they would allow us to bring our inflatable expedition craft into the massive lock chamber. Three expedition landing crafts were lowered off the boat deck and filled with brave guests craving a sense of perspective at just how large and powerful these lock systems are. We entered the 86ft wide and 665ft long concrete behemoth and waited as the water lifted the National Geographic Sea Lion and expedition landing crafts the entire 100ft to the next level of river. The slight wind and perfect temperature allowed for a delightful lunch on the sundeck as we approached our Palouse River anchorage. Read More>

Sep 24, 2016 National Geographic Sea Lion in Pacific Northwest

Pacaya Samiria

Early wake up for all of us aboard the Delfin II today. it was time to get a great breakfast to pack good energies for our best day of the expedition. As usual one by one our skiff started to depart on a new day’s expedition, this time, the Natural Reserve of Pacaya Samiria. A place full of flora and fauna. The day started with some herons and egrets, kingfishers and hawks looking at us curiously about the new visitors in the area. Read More>

Sep 23, 2016 Delfin II in Amazon

San Cristobal Island

The approach to Punta Pitt, the easternmost point of the island of San Cristobal (also known as Chatham) is dramatic in the early morning. It consists of a highly eroded tuff cone, possibly over 400,000 years old. Sharp ridges and deep ravines are starkly accented by the low light. The periodic heavy rains of the occasional El Niño events over the millennia have cut into the steep slopes with abandon. This morning our first impression was of a massive volcanic structure wrapped in low mist with a brisk wind blowing. Right after breakfast we disembarked, put our walking shoes on, and proceeded to climb. Read More>

Sep 23, 2016 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Santa Cruz Island

We visited Santa Cruz Island today located in central Galapagos. This morning we explored the Galapagos Giant Tortoises Breeding Center called “Fausto Llerena” in honor of one of the older park rangers. We were able to see the different types of Galapagos land tortoises and also some Land iguanas in captivity. This is also a good place to observe land birds, such as Darwin finches, Galapagos mockingbirds, doves and flycatchers. Along the way we learned about the many species of endemic and native plants, like the impressive Galapagos giant prickly pear cactus. As soon as we finished our visit to the breeding center we got to see the town of Puerto Ayora and observe the way the locals live. Later on we went to the highlands where we went to a local farm that produces coffee, bananas, and sugar cane. They produce “moon shine” from the sugar cane and we got to try some along with other products they produce. Some of us deiced to bike to the sugar cane press hacienda to get a little bit of exercise. As we left the local farm we headed to a local restaurant for lunch and in the afternoon we went to another local farm to look for wild Galapagos giant tortoises. Read More>

Sep 23, 2016 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

Snake and Palouse Rivers

In the early light of dawn the National Geographic Sea Bird made her way upstream on the Snake River. A half-moon rode high in the sky. In the bronze light on the water ahead, a white pelican swam at a stately pace across our bow. We were making our way toward our afternoon anchorage on the Palouse River, but first we had a leisurely morning to enjoy the views along the river. A great blue heron squawked as it burst from the river’s edge and flapped past our ship. Four great egrets in their snowy plumage flew ahead of us and landed at the edge of the river. These elegant birds were snow white with long black legs and yellow, stiletto-like bills. Before breakfast we locked through Ice Harbor Dam and were told to look forward to a bit of an adventure when we got to Lower Monumental Dam. Meanwhile, we enjoyed the light wind, the sun, and the beautiful scenery of cliffs of brown basalt stepping up from the river followed by orchards and hayfields. On shore we saw black-billed magpies perched on the broken-down corral. We passed large granaries holding wheat from dryland farms on the rolling hills above the river. Long, long trains roar by going west and carrying oil and coal toward the coast. Following breakfast our geologist, Grace, gave a presentation on the Columbia River Basalt Province and described the lava flows to us. Read More>

Sep 23, 2016 National Geographic Sea Bird in Pacific Northwest

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

 

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