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Isla San Esteban and Isla Tiburón, Sea of Cortez, Baja California

Another magical day in Baja California unfolds as the National Geographic Sea Lion approaches Isla San Esteban just after sunrise. The colorful layers of folded, faulted, and contorted rock exposed in the sea cliffs glow in the morning light. A fresh breeze is blowing from the north, so we tuck in close to the island for protection. Conditions are perfect for going ashore to explore. Isla San Esteban is a remote island that has been isolated by uplift and erosion during the opening of the Gulf of California over the past 5 to 6 million years. Read More>

Apr 16, 2015 National Geographic Sea Lion in Baja California

At Sea & Danzante Island

After having sailed south all night long from the midriff area of the Sea of Cortez, sunrise found us off Punta Púlpito, north of Loreto. As the National Geographic Sea Bird made her way towards the Loreto Bay National Park we watched a couple of small groups of long-beaked common dolphins moving quickly in their pursuit of small schooling fish. We had a strange visitor: a solitary mourning dove that kept flying around the ship, an uncommon sight at sea. During and after breakfast we encountered some groups of bottlenose dolphins, including a few that delighted everyone in the dining room by jumping high in front of the windows! During lunch we dropped the anchor off Danzante Island. Read More>

Apr 16, 2015 National Geographic Sea Bird in Baja California

Bartolome and Santiago Island

Our day started early in the morning with a fast-paced power walk up the wooden stairs of Bartolome Island. Once we had reached the summit, we enjoyed the magnificent picturesque setting, where naturalist Walter Perez explained volcanism and the geological dynamics of this small island, formed by tuff and covered by spatter cones. Today was a clear day, and we could easily see far into the distance from this vantage point.  We counted almost 10 islands and islets surrounding Bartolome. The incredible view was definitely worth the challenging hike, and it was clear why this young, dry and uncolonized island stands out as one of the most iconic visitor’s sites in the protected area of the Galapagos National Park. After the hike, our groups enjoyed water activities, either from the beach or in deeper water. Read More>

Apr 16, 2015 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Isla San Esteban & San Pedro Martir

Before sunrise, a couple small boats headed to shore for a pre-breakfast exploration of Isla San Esteban. We landed shortly before the richly glowing orb rose from the horizon. Moving gingerly around the yellow-footed gulls sitting on eggs in kelp-lined nests along the rocky shoreline, we scampered up to a plateau above the landing site. There were numerous angles to discover for photo opportunities with cactus silhouetted by the beautiful first light. From the ship, a lone humpback whale was spotted and sea lions randomly popped their heads up curious and playful, with occasional quick leaps. Read More>

Apr 15, 2015 National Geographic Sea Bird in Baja California

Aldabra Atoll VIDEO

We awoke this morning to another beautiful day at Aldabra Atoll and embarked the Zodiacs before breakfast for a sunrise tour of its western channels. Our reward for our early start was a plethora of birdlife including red-footed boobies, frigate birds, dimorphic egrets and the angelic, long-tailed white tropicbirds. Under our Zodiacs we could also see a myriad of marine animals in the clear tropical waters and every Zodiac appeared to be flanked by its own armada of green sea turtles and eagle rays. Read More>

Apr 15, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Southern Africa & the Indian Ocean

Santa Cruz Island

We are located at the center of the Galapagos Islands at one of the largest land extensions.  About 110 years ago Santa Cruz Island was visited by the Academy of Sciences of California and the bay was named after the institution. A few years later the first people settled with the intention of establishing fishing industries due to the large quantities of fish present.  Most of the goods were canned in order to preserve the product, but the long distances and difficult processes eventually discouraged people.  Many years later, the highlands offered a better option to sustain an increasing population.  Today the largest inhabited town of Puerto Ayora has 2,2000 persons. Our visit began at the tortoise rearing center at the Galapagos National Park. Read More>

Apr 15, 2015 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

Santa Cruz Island; Cerro Dragon, Guy Fawkes, Eden

After spending the whole day in Puerto Ayora yesterday, visiting the breeding center and the highlands of Santa Cruz Island, our guests gained a deeper understanding of the importance of the Charles Darwin Station and the Galapagos National Park Service.  This incredible archipelago needs our help and protection, and seeing the conservation efforts in action as well as the final product of tortoises in the wild and roaming freely was very impressive.  This morning we dropped anchor in the northern part of Santa Cruz, after a few hours of navigations overnight. Read More>

Apr 15, 2015 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Floreana Island

Floreana was named after the first Ecuadorian President, known as Juan Jose Flores. This is one of the islands that represent a great piece of the human history of the Galapagos. Charles Darwin himself visited this island in 1835.  But before Darwin’s visit, in much earlier years, many buccaneers used the island as a place to get provisions and supplies like giant tortoises and fresh water. We had a pre-breakfast outing, to visit Cormorant Point. Read More>

Apr 14, 2015 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

“Golden Triangle” & Isla Santa Catalina

We awakened this morning, our first aboard the National Geographic Sea Lion, to a beautiful sunrise, followed by a couple of humpback whales feeding, and then common dolphins riding the bow.  Wow!  People made their way to the decks of the ship to see these amazing cetaceans gracefully cut through the water, ride the bow, and leap high into the air.  They soon departed, but towards the end of our light exercise class another group of dolphins – this time bottlenose dolphins - came to welcome us to their home.   “Bienvenidos a Mexico!” they seemed to say with each leap and tail-slap and zip to the bow for a free ride.  Well, probably they were feeding and not paying too much attention to us.  However we did notice when the Captain stepped on the gas, they sped up as well, and began leaping and bow-riding with more gusto.  There must have been a couple of hundred dolphins; we were told that for every one seen on the surface there are likely 3 or 4 more below.  The tiny babies were so cute (as are all babies).  And we saw a huge remora hanging off the side of one of the dolphins, getting a free ride to its meal.  Speaking of meals, it was now time for breakfast!  After breakfast and some intros and briefings, we came up to the back deck to get our snorkel gear for the week, and some were lucky enough to see a leatherback turtle hanging out on the surface. Read More>

Apr 14, 2015 National Geographic Sea Lion in Baja California

Cruising & Isla Rasa

The ocean’s surface was flat and glassy. Troublesome wind was but a memory as the bright horizon soon gave us a brief glimpse of a two-layered green flash. Off and on throughout the morning we watched long-beaked common dolphins in the distance or up close riding our bow wave and surfing on our wake. At one point we peered into the distance to see a confusing combination of dorsal fins that turned out to be both bottlenose dolphins and short-finned pilot whales together. There were several large male pilot whales that approached the ship. They have enlarged dorsal fins that appear stretched along the back and have huge heads that look like they carry a pot as a nose. Their foreheads are used as acoustic lenses for focusing sound generated near their blowholes during echolocation. As each one approached, we first saw the water distort into a dome and then transform into a shiny black watermelon of a head. We later found two Bryde’s whales. Read More>

Apr 14, 2015 National Geographic Sea Bird in Baja California

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