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Lastest Expedition Reports

Clarkston, Hells Canyon, and the Clearwater

Today was a wonderful start to our journey down the Snake and Columbia rivers! Following breakfast, half the group boarded the jetboat and headed upstream, bouncing over riffles and rapids in the pursuit of scenery and wildlife. Very quickly we spotted a herd of bighorn sheep lollygagging near the water and everyone had a chance to snap photos of the animals strolling along a cliff face. Basalt columns intrigued us as we headed on, and the topography became more steep and precipitous. We stopped at a Forest Service site for a break, gorging on fresh plums from their orchard and following around a flock of wild turkeys. Read More>

Sep 30, 2014 National Geographic Sea Lion in Pacific Northwest

Palouse River & Lower Monumental Dam

This wonderful sunny, but windy, morning started with the National Geographic Sea Bird transiting through the locks of Lower Granite and Little Goose dams. The temperatures were cooler on deck but proved to be pleasant as we watched and stretched our bodies, waking and warming up. As we finished breakfast, the ship approached our landing site on the Palouse River. Our group split in two as one went up to the Palouse falls, a waterfall traveling through the basaltic rock cliff at a height of 198 feet. The other group departed for expedition landing craft tours on the Palouse River. The groups switched after about an hour and a half to make sure to capture all the sights. The second round provided the opportunity to kayak along the shoreline of the river where Grebes and other waterfowl were spotted. It was a chance to get up close to the basalt rock cliffs decorated with spider webs.   After a fantastic lunch, the global market was opened in order to purchase some gifts and treasures. Read More>

Sep 30, 2014 National Geographic Sea Bird in Pacific Northwest

Santa Cruz Island

Our expedition in the enchanted Islands continues with our visit today in Santa Cruz Island. After breakfast we disembarked at the municipal dock of Puerto Ayora (the main town of the island) in order to explore the rearing center of giant tortoises located in the facilities of the national park service. All guests were very excited because for the first time in their journey, they came across the emblematic species of the Galápagos, the giant tortoises. Moreover it was very special to get to see the rearing program step by step, starting with the newborn hatchlings and the ones ready to be transported back into the wild. Our visit to the rearing center was followed by some time to walk through town and a quick visit to a farm where a nice local family showed us their sugar cane mill as well as some products they manufacture with sugar cane juice. Read More>

Sep 30, 2014 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Floreana Island

Floreana Island was named after Juan Jose Flores, the first president of Ecuador, during whose administration in 1832 the government of Ecuador took possession of the archipelago. It was previously called Charles Island (after King Charles II of England) and Santa Maria after one of the caravels of Columbus.  The island has an area of 173 square kilometers (67 sq mi). Read More>

Sep 29, 2014 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Snake River into Hell’s Canyon

Our day began with an adventurous jet boat ride up the Snake River from Clarkston, Washington into Hells Canyon. The canyon landscape began with walls composed of horizontal layers of dark basalt flows, some of which had cooled and fractured into wonderful columns. Wildlife sightings began with flocks of geese and mallards and then egrets and white pelicans. Then we saw ospreys, wood ducks, great blue herons, belted kingfishers, and ravens.  As we zoomed upstream, the canyon walls continued to rise higher and higher. Read More>

Sep 29, 2014 National Geographic Sea Bird in Pacific Northwest

At Sea

A day out of sight of land and devoid of terrestrial distractions, frees the mind to wander, allowing for contemplation of what excitement and adventures lie ahead. The contemporary author Lori R. Lopez summarizes the spirit of embarking upon an expedition like this one;  “One’s options in this world are as vast as the horizon, which is technically a circle and thus infinitely broad. Read More>

Sep 29, 2014 National Geographic Orion in Borneo & Indonesia

Funchal & Desertas, Madeira

Our second full day in the Madeira Islands proved to be a truly spectacular experience from dawn to dusk. Typical Madeira weather and conditions began the day, 15°C before sunrise a light breeze and as the sun broke the horizon by 0730 dimming the lights of the picturesque port of Funchal we prepared for another day in this island paradise. Today there were two options of exploration here, the first being an outing to walk in the “fossil” Laurissilva or Laurel forests including a stop at the summit of Pico Arieiro to take in the spectacular volcanic landscape. A second outing visited the botanical gardens here, showcasing the diversity of plant life that can grow in this stable sub-tropical climate with a visit to the more arid eastern side of Madeira and a chance to learn about the whaling history of Madeira at the whaling museum.  As author of this chapter about or expedition I will focus mainly on the first of our two options. Read More>

Sep 28, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Azores, Madeira & Beyond

Clarkston, Hells Canyon, and the Clearwater

The morning dawned in orange over the Snake River as we pulled into the dock at Clarkston. Pleasantries were exchanged with our comrades aboard our sister ship, National Geographic Sea Bird, as National Geographic Sea Lion was tied up alongside. After breakfast, many of us boarded a jet boat for a fast ride up into Hell’s Canyon. Read More>

Sep 28, 2014 National Geographic Sea Lion in Pacific Northwest

Española Island

Our expedition began with an exploration of Española Island. The southeastern most island in Galapagos, it is also the oldest one. In the morning we headed to Gardner Islet where we went snorkeling in deep waters. Some guests wanted to practice snorkeling from the shore and so we went to a nearby beach. There we encountered several Galapagos sea lions, most of them sleeping. This morning we also got our first chance to go kayaking along the cliffs of Española Island and we had a great time exploring the coast.  As we ended our morning in Gardner Bay, we navigated toward the western coast and we had the opportunity to explore the Punta Suárez trail. Read More>

Sep 28, 2014 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Lower Monumental Dam & the Palouse River

Happy National Public Lands Day from National Geographic Sea Lion! Today we experienced the sunrise at Ice Harbor and continued cruising east on the Snake River where we sailed through the Lower Monumental lock. Guests who chose the option of transmitting through the locks of the dam via expedition landing craft had the unique opportunity of observing the ship from the water as it moved through the lock; a special treat to be sure. After a tasty breakfast featuring local smoked salmon, our ship anchored at the mouth of the Palouse River on the Washington side of the Snake River. Read More>

Sep 27, 2014 National Geographic Sea Lion in Pacific Northwest

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