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Santa Cruz Island

Last night we arrived to Santa Cruz Island and today went to the Fausto Llerena Breeding Center for Galapagos Giant Tortoises; this place has one of the most successful projects aiming to restore populations of the emblematic tortoises to their natural environment. We observed land tortoises from different islands as well as Galapagos land iguanas. Along the trail, we observed different species of Darwin’s finches, such as the common cactus finch and its long beak. There were also some Galapagos mockingbirds and Galapagos flycatchers flitting around us as we walked, looking for insects to feed on. The vegetation surrounding the area is impressive, with the endemic giant prickly pear cactus, which looks the same as a typical tree with golden brown bark, but reaches heights of more than twelve feet tall. After walking through the center, we had some time to walk around the town before heading up to the highlands. Read More>

Sep 1, 2015 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Fram Fjord, Ellesmere Island

Well it might be the first day of spring in the Southern Hemisphere, and in fact it felt like a spring day here in the north! National Geographic Explorer cruised slowly into Fram Fiord before breakfast, with dappled sunlight hitting the small bergs and mountainsides. A very picturesque scene, with calm waters and slowly increasing blue sky patches. It wasn’t long before we had spotted several small herds of muskox on the steep slopes and tundra filled valleys. Read More>

Sep 1, 2015 National Geographic Explorer in Arctic

Floreana Island

We had a pre breakfast outing followed by a wet landing on a green sandy beach, the color of which is due to the olivine crystals that produce a refraction of light.  Behind our landing site we found a brackish water lagoon where a few Greater flamingos were feeding on small shrimp like forms, algae and some other crustaceans within the mud. As we ventured farther onto the island we encountered approximately 13 Diamond sting rays which were right underneath the breaking waves. Read More>

Sep 1, 2015 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

Tanjung Puting National Park & Camp Leakey

The sun was still low on the horizon when we disembarked National Geographic Orion heading towards Tanjung Puting National Park. The air was filled with smoke from fires in the nearby forest and some of the palm oil plantations. Fortunately, the smoke cleared shortly after we had entered the Sekonyer River and we were able to fully enjoy our two-hour Zodiac ride upstream. We cruised along lush jungle and were very fortunate to catch a first glimpse of the funny looking proboscis monkeys with their long noses. These primates are endemic to Borneo and absolutely fascinating. However, the main reason why we were here today were of course the mighty orangutans. Read More>

Sep 1, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Borneo & Indonesia

Hvar, Croatia

We started in the Aegean, sailed south and around to the Ionian and now find ourselves with full sails in the Adriatic Sea. Along the coast of Croatia in the Adriatic is the island of Hvar. Hvar is not only the name of the island, it is also the name of the harbor and the name of the town. It is considered to be the sunniest and greenest of the Croatian islands. Patches of lavender, rosemary, and heather all contribute not only to the greenery, but also to the economy and distinctive scent one experiences when walking along the warm waterfront. Hvar is an easily manageable town to navigate and the myriad of scenic, narrow street passages don’t even have names. With a variety of church towers as landmarks and the highest point in sight, Fortress “Spanjola” it was easy to independently explore after a leisurely orientation and introduction with our local Croatian guides.  We found a rather serendipitous bonus in the main square or “pajca” of town. Read More>

Sep 1, 2015 Sea Cloud in Mediterranean

Dubrovnik

This morning we woke up in Dubrovnik; once a capital of the medieval Republic of Ragusa, nowadays the best preserved medieval city in Europe. The sight of it surrounded by white walls 500 feet long, the clear blue Adriatic, and the orange color of the rooftops was breathtaking. We started our guided tour of the city and its walls early, before crowds of tourists occupied it as nowadays the beautiful Old Town of Dubrovnik is becoming more and more popular. Read More>

Aug 31, 2015 Sea Cloud in Mediterranean

Floreana Island

Floreana, also known as Charles or Santa Maria, is a peaceful island in the southern area of the Galapagos Archipelago. It is one of the four inhabited islands, and it was the first one officially inhabited by Ecuadorians, when Ecuador took possession of the Islands in 1832. Only three years later, the famous naturalist Charles Darwin visited Floreana Island, and after him many more visitors were part of a unique and bizarre human history: from marooned whalers to prisoners and colonists, and from a toothless dentist to a self-proclaimed empress. The island has many visitors sites, and one of them is Punta Cormorant—not named after the Galapagos flightless cormorants, as these endemic birds are not found in this location, but rather after a British navy ship, the HMS Cormorant, that was launched in 1877 and assigned in 1886 to the Pacific Station (an area along the western coast of South America and extending to the Galápagos Islands and possibly beyond). Read More>

Aug 31, 2015 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Española Island

By the time our guest woke up, the National Geographic Islander was already anchored at Gardner Bay on Española Island. The day started with a beautiful sunrise and some of our guests began this day with a stretching class.  After a delicious breakfast our guests had a snorkeling and kayak safety talk and got their snorkeling gear from the expedition staff of the National Geographic Islander.  Once our guests had their gear we went on a snorkeling outing to explore the waters off of the cliffs of Gardner Islet. This was a really fun experience for everybody since we saw many different species of fish.  We swam with parrot fish, creole fish, Mexican hogfish, giant hawk fish and schools of black striped snapper. After snorkeling everybody got back on board and changed very quickly because we still had time to go to the beach on Gardner Bay where we observed a good size colony of Galapagos sea lions. After the excursion It was time for lunch so we headed back on board. The action began again at 3:30 pm at Punta Suarez, Española Island. Read More>

Aug 31, 2015 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

Ideal Cove & Petersburg

The day dawned inauspiciously, gray and drizzly, breezy and chilly. We anchored in Ideal Cove, a lovely spot where we could see pieces of grounded ice from the LeConte glacier in the distance. Expedition landing craft zipped to shore to drop off hikers, where staff greeted them and offered a hand slopping through boot-sucking mud at an extremely low tide. Mussels and barnacles underfoot, we made our way up to the top of the beach, dropped our life jackets and headed off into the forest. A narrow boardwalk wound its way through the trees, branches dripped with water droplets, and brilliant orange berries graced the side of the path. Photographers crouched in the greenery, framing up shots while naturalists pointed out interesting vegetation and signs of wildlife. Before lunch, naturalist David Stephens gave a fascinating talk on the art of the northwest coast and everyone had a chance to see beautiful handmade native art pieces up close and personal. For the afternoon we docked in the lovely town of Petersburg, a classic fishing town filled to bursting with a fishing fleet. Read More>

Aug 31, 2015 National Geographic Sea Bird in Alaska

Endicott Arm – Ford’s Terror Wilderness

What better way to start a voyage in Southeast Alaska than to experience a sampling of its grandeur? As day broke National Geographic Sea Lion was making her way up Endicott Arm towards Dawes Glacier. This narrow fjord is part of the Tracy Arm-Fords Terror Wilderness and is a classic example of a glacial U-shaped valley, with its smooth peaks that plummet down to the sea. We spent the early morning on the bow watching icebergs float by, and even had the good fortune of moments of blue sky peeking through the clouds. One beautiful scene after another played out before us as we neared the glacier. There is no better way to experience the scale and power of a glacier than to be as close to water level as possible. Read More>

Aug 31, 2015 National Geographic Sea Lion in Alaska

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