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Port Althorp and the Inian Islands

The light rain eased, bits of blue began to dot the sky and the sun threatened to make an appearance as National Geographic Sea Lion edged into Port Althorp. Low clouds lurked between the hills as we boarded our inflatable boats and headed for shore. We walked along the shore, examining the intertidal zone and looking for bear tracks in the soft mud. Derelict barges decorated the shore while eagles serenaded us from above. The long walkers explored the deep forest beyond the shore, and kayakers enjoyed the bay from sea level. While we feasted on another wonderful lunch, the ship sailed towards our afternoon anchorage in the Hobbit Hole. Read More>

Aug 26, 2014 National Geographic Sea Lion in Alaska

Glacier Bay

National Geographic Sea Bird ventured into Glacier Bay National Park later in the evening of August 25th. We picked up our Ranger, Mary Lou, and Cultural Interpreter, Bertha, in the small town of Gustavus, Alaska and navigated deeper into the national park as the night went on. We awoke in the early morning hours approaching Russel Cut and the Lamplugh Glacier, which appeared very blue on this misty day. It was a sight to behold, but the real treasure was to witness the beautiful dark brown bears that were nestled in the bushes on the hillside. The seals lounged on the icebergs as we passed slowly, moving on in hopes of viewing calving from the John Hopkins Glacier.   Our ranger and cultural interpreter for the day presented us with knowledge of the geological formations of the bay, cultural history, and information about the Tlingit nation whom inhabited this area for thousands of years. Read More>

Aug 26, 2014 National Geographic Sea Bird in Alaska

Isabela and Fernandina Islands

We started our day early on a pre-breakfast activity in the morning, in search of cetaceans. We got lucky when our naturalist Pato spotted a small pod of common dolphins leaping and splashing off our starboard bow. Our first officer Ivan was at the ship’s helm, so he turned east and we followed these beautiful marine mammals for a short distance as they leapt towards the sunrise. We had amazing opportunities to photograph these magical creatures with beautiful sunrise light. Along our navigational route, viewing as we went, storm petrels, dark-rumped petrels and other sea birds were flying on the surface of the ocean searching for planktonic species.   After breakfast we all crowded into the bridge and crossed the Equator and did our celebration, dancing limbo across our yellow, red and blue ribbon as the “endemic Equator. Read More>

Aug 26, 2014 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

Isabela Island

Today we continued our trip around the western islands of this beautiful archipelago. Isabela is the biggest island by far, home of five active shield volcanoes that formed it. Read More>

Aug 26, 2014 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Morris Reef and Pavlof Harbor

National Geographic Sea Lion departed Sitka last evening and cruised north and east through Peril Strait between Baranof and Chichagof islands. Entering Chatham Strait we turned south and entered Kelp Bay, where guests on board awoke to a lovely mist draping the trees of the Tongass National Forest. It was a good place for our first photo opportunity of the day.  Presently we were called out on deck to view a couple humpback whales that were spouting and surfacing in the area. Read More>

Aug 25, 2014 National Geographic Sea Lion in Alaska

George Island & the Inians

The early morning fog surrounded us and the National Geographic Sea Bird navigated cautiously, using the foghorn every few minutes; it seemed as if we were alone in the world and the beauty of the scene was remarkable. We soon arrived to George Island, where we spent the morning. Located off the northern shore of the large Chichagof Island, George is a very interesting place to explore. And we did so by hiking, tide-pooling, kayaking and in my case, scuba diving. Amy Sobesky and I went diving off George Island to take underwater video of the inhabitants of the kelp forest and rocky reefs, like leather and sunflower sea stars, painted and stubby rose anemones, kelp greenlings, and Pacific cod. Meanwhile, kayakers paddled along the shore looking at the rugged landscape and the occasional sea lion and harbor seal, whereas hikers reached the site of a former WWII post that was used to protect the northern entrance to the Inside Passage.  After leaving George Island we headed towards our anchorage at the Hobbit Hole in the Inian Islands. Read More>

Aug 25, 2014 National Geographic Sea Bird in Alaska

Bartolome & Rabida Islands

Our journey continues within this “world among itself” as it has been described. An early hike to the top of Bartolome Island brings us to an incredible sunrise and a view of more than 25 islands in the distance. Bartolome does not have much in terms of wildlife and vegetation, however it does show the tumultuous geological past with spatter and cinder cones littering the island along with solidified lava tubes running done the slopes like veins. A few pioneer plant species are found here trying to take hold and produce soil for the next wave of species that may never arrive to this arid island. Upon our return to our home, the National Geographic Islander, we obtain our snorkeling equipment for a chance to explore the undersea world. After landing on a fine sand beach we proceed to enter the water and encounter large schools of Razor surgeon fish, blennies, flounders, and a colorful wall filled with invertebrates.  This has been a great introduction to one of our mid-age islands as we continue west towards Rabida Island.  The afternoon brings us to an otherworldly area as we anchor off of Rabida Island. Read More>

Aug 25, 2014 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

Punta Espinoza & Punta Vicente Roca VIDEO

The morning had us navigating toward Fernandina Island, the most western island in Galapagos. It is one of five large islands in this archipelago. The scenery we are approaching is hard to describe, it is a great example of the shield volcano, volcanology you can expect in oceanic archipelagos. The island itself is one large volcano that has the deepest caldera a volcano in Galapagos could ever have. Dry, very dry, is how the slopes of this one single volcano look. The green you expect on the island is found along the coast specifically, where the pioneer plant is highly dominant. Before we anchor on the island we saw a spout – it was the largest mammal of the ocean. Yes, a couple of blue whales were close to the National Geographic Endeavour! They helped us envision the rest of the exciting day coming up. By 8:00 a.m. we are disembarking on the rocky tidal area where the explorers are surprised by the local attractions at every turn – the marine iguanas, the flightless cormorant, sea lions, green sea turtles and the view of this magical place help us have a great time.  Later on we move to our next destination, the smallest volcano of six forming the largest island in Galapagos, Isabela. Read More>

Aug 25, 2014 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Ellesmere Island, Qikiqtaaluck, Nunavut

Today was another first for National Geographic Explorer: a visit to Ellesmere Island. Not one of us had ever been here before. Our fearless expedition leader, Lisa Kelley, chose an excellent quote for today’s program by Sir Ernest Shackleton “I go exploring because I like it and it’s my job.” Ellesmere Island is Canada’s third-largest island and it a place rarely visited by tourists. Read More>

Aug 25, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Arctic

Tobermory, Eigg, Skye & Inverie

The western isles of Scotland showed us their very best today, offering something for everyone under bright blue skies as we visited three different islands and finished our day on a remote corner of the mainland.  We woke up alongside in Tobermory, on the island of Mull. Read More>

Aug 24, 2014 Lord of the Glens in Scotland

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

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