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Lastest Expedition Reports

Binh Thanh Island & Cai Be

As the sun rises over the Mekong Delta, we are anchored near Binh Thanh, a seven-mile long island with a population of 23,000. Boarding small local embarkations called sampan, we travel on small channels past floating houses, water hyacinths gardens, and fish farms. Irrigation channels are bringing the sediment-laden waters of the Mekong to countless vegetable and fruit gardens across the island. After letting a local ferry leave the dock with dozens of passengers and motorbikes, we land and explore the local village. A few days into the Vietnamese New Year, dedicated to the Monkey, signs of celebration are everywhere, with golden flowers in front of every house and the loud sound of drums and cymbals. Read More>

Feb 12, 2016 Jahan in Vietnam & Cambodia

Santa Cruz Island

Today we visited the Charles Darwin Research Station and National Park offices, to learn about all the different conservation projects that take place in the Galapagos. One of the most important projects is the breeding program for giant tortoises, and we learned about the important efforts put forth by these two institutions to bring back the populations of tortoises, which were dwindling due to destruction caused by introduced species, like goats and rats. We also learned about initiatives to protect the populations of opuntia cactuses on Plazas Island, the population of scalesia pedunculata around the Twin Craters in the highlands of Santa Cruz island, and others. We were able to spend some time exploring the town of Puerto Ayora, to get a taste of local culture, before we headed up to the highlands to visit a sugar cane mill. Read More>

Feb 11, 2016 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Mikkelsen Harbour & Cierva Cove

Our day started on the bridge with a burst of sunlight over the mountains of the peninsula, sending a beam of rosy light across our southbound track. Suddenly all the wildlife in the Orlean Strait was spot lit as if for solo performance: kelp gulls, Antarctic terns, southern fulmars, and even the delicate dance of the Wilson’s storm-petrel. Best of all it highlighted the blows of several groups of humpback whales feeding happily out in the calm waters. Tall plumes of rosy mist, succeeded by the slow-motion curl of giant flukes as they dove. Straight after breakfast we had reached our destination for a morning landing: Mikkelsen Harbour at the southern tip of Trinity Island. Read More>

Feb 11, 2016 National Geographic Explorer in Antarctica

Santiago Island

We arrived early in the morning at the next Island to explore, the fourth largest island in the archipelago, named Santiago. At 6:30 we started at Espumilla beach with different activities from which to choose. Read More>

Feb 11, 2016 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

At Sea

Up and down. Side to side. Rolling. There are a myriad of ways to describe a ship in strong seas. The adjectives and verbs tend to be dramatically milder when aboard an expedition vessel purpose built to withstand the winds and waves of the Southern Ocean. The National Geographic Orion stalwartly continued to push along its track line, against the prevailing currents and weather that circle the southern continent, away from South Georgia and towards the Falkland Islands. The towering snow peaked ridgelines, vibrant green tussock slopes and black sand beaches are simultaneously fresh in one’s mind, as well as a distant memory. Those colors that were taken so much for granted over the last few days have been replaced by unending blue. As far as the eye could see, mountains of salty water, valleys of white frothing spray. A shifting and chaotic landscape, different with every blink of an eye, savagely beautiful and wildly untamed. But a day at sea is far from dull, while it does provide time for a physical respite, it’s ideal for catching up with friends, processing photos and proving one’s cribbage superiority. Read More>

Feb 11, 2016 National Geographic Orion in Antarctica

Punta Colorado & Puerto Gato

At daybreak we were cruising north in the Sea of Cortez along the east shore of Isla San Jose. Our destination was Punta Colorado, a stunning point with peach-colored cliffs, beige rocks, and turquoise water. Erosion has slowly smoothed the uplifted seabed of this cove into elegant, curving landforms. During our walks ashore, we found countless shells, and a 2.5-million-year-old whale vertebra. Hikers explored the arroyo, while snorkelers swam beneath pink cliffs and discovered colorful schools of blue and gold snappers and wrasses. After enjoying lunch on the ship, we went ashore in the afternoon at Puerto Gato, on the Baja California peninsula. Read More>

Feb 11, 2016 National Geographic Sea Bird in Baja California

Gulf of Panama; Bona, Taboga & Panama Canal

After covering 180 nautical miles from Coiba Island National Park, we reached the Gulf of Panama. By midnight at Punta Mala, north-eastern trade winds picked up in speed to 25 knots and kept some of us awake for a couple of hours. Nonetheless, in spite of the wind factor, National Geographic Sea Lion continued persistently sailing into the waters of the Panama Canal area. Around 22 miles from the Panama Canal, our Captain David Sinclair found a great protected location and proceeded to drop anchor on the southern lee of Bona Island. During this time, our local naturalist from Panama, Jose Perez provided a great presentation about the local ethnic groups and general culture of Panama. Read More>

Feb 11, 2016 National Geographic Sea Lion in Costa Rica & Panama

King Haakon Bay, Cave Cove & Peggotty Bluff, South Georgia

On this most isolated coast, relentlessly lashed by stormy and salty seas, National Geographic Orion glided into view of the rugged, glaciated coastline of South Georgia’s King Haakon Bay. Magnificent polished ice sculptures, sailed the currents to float about the cliffs of green and grey.  One hundred years ago, almost to the day, Ernest Shackleton made his first landfall here after surviving a most miraculous small boat journey – 16 days across the most treacherous stretch of ocean on Earth. Read More>

Feb 10, 2016 National Geographic Orion in Antarctica

James Island

At sunrise we disembarked in Espumilla Beach, a dark sandy beach where several tracks of female Pacific green turtles were evident. Unfortunately, since the tide was very high, we were not able to spot the turtles as they crawled towards the ocean. Our walk took us through a mature black mangrove forest, and further inland through an incense tree forest. The unique scenery mesmerized our guests, and we were fortunate enough to spot three Galapagos hawks, one of the highlights of this site. Once we were back onboard, a delicious breakfast was provided and we got ready for the afternoon’s activities, which included snorkeling, kayaking and glass bottom boat rides. Read More>

Feb 10, 2016 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Antarctic Sound

Today has been a true delight with thousands of penguins, more than a dozen killer whales, and a beautiful sunset. We stepped foot on the continent of Antarctica, which for many was their 7th continent. This isn’t just any landing though, this is the famous Brown Bluff, which is renowned because it brings us face to face with as many as 50,000 breeding pairs of Adélie penguins, and their tens of thousands of ridiculously cute chicks. We are on the Antarctic Peninsula, an area that has been hit hard by human-induced climate change, which has already warmed by 3-4 degrees on average. This means life or death for thousands of penguins, which is why Adélie numbers are plummeting on many parts of the peninsula. Here though, they are still doing well, and we are able to witness a penguin colony reaching farther than the eye can see. These penguin chicks are right at the stage where they are entering the water for the first time, which is basically hilarious. Read More>

Feb 10, 2016 National Geographic Explorer in Antarctica

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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.