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North Seymour & Rabida Islands

Today we awaken close to where we arrived at Baltra Island. It is incredible to see the difference from one island to the next with such a short distance traveled in-between. As we land at North Seymour we have an incredible amount of air traffic above us with magnificent frigate birds, brown pelicans, blue footed boobies catching the updrafts of wind as it comes off of the ocean. As we move over the rocky terrain we start to find nesting areas for frigate birds and blue footed boobies with the occasional Galapagos land iguana lumbering about. Blue footed boobies are very productive at this time of year as the main productivity in the ocean is quite high. We find adults with various chicks in the nest with an occasional juvenile asking for food from the parent. Male frigate birds with their inflated gular sacks are trying to attract females that fly overhead. As we stop upon the trail to observe a land iguana, the land iguana walks zigzag through the entire group and slowly moves into the underbrush. This desert lake terrain is otherworldly as we walk among the Palo Santo incense trees. As we head out to the outer coast we find one of the densest breeding areas for frigate birds in the Galapagos with over 100 adults and juveniles grouped together in front of the coast. Galapagos sea lions lay upon the sandy dunes with an occasional pop searching for its mother so it may nurse. As we return to the ship the low lying clouds start to rise and show us the sun. Our navigation into the afternoon brings us to Rabida Island we have a chance to explore the undersea world. Read More>

Jul 24, 2016 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Fugløya and Tromsø, Northern Norway

In tranquil mist-muffled seas we had crossed overnight from Bear Island towards mainland Norway, and we awoke to find ourselves approaching the small island of Fugløya (Bird Island). Immediately, the rise in temperature was palpable. The mist still clung to the island, however, tantalisingly revealing only a few feet of the lowest cliffs, everything else obscured from view, as we slowly cruised its eastern shore, hugging it close. This island is an important breeding site for Atlantic puffins, and the waters around our bow teamed with them.   We watched with delight as the puffins paddled back and forth on the lazy surface, or dived beneath, using their wings to swim underwater with speed and great agility. The sharp-eyed also spotted razorbills amongst the throng, and even a White-tailed eagle sitting on a ledge watching the scene. Later in the morning Ralph Lee Hopkins continued our photographic education with a motivating talk on Creative Travel Photography, explaining at last what all those buttons and dials are meant for. Soon civilization was in sight, the shorelines of Tromsø with its docks and boatyards, bridges and hotel blocks, slipped into view. Read More>

Jul 24, 2016 National Geographic Orion in Arctic

Chicagoff Island & Pavlov Harbor

El dia de los osos! Not one or two, but a total of six brown bears were seen today on the shore of Chicagoff Island we began our exploration of  Southeast Alaska. The first two bears were a young pair recently released from their mother’s care. Rather small, thin and apparently very hungry, they explored the upper intertidal for food. Later, but still before our lunchbreak, two large brown bears were seen also in pursuit of food along the intertidal near a small salmon stream. Shortly after lunch, the marine realm revealed its apex predator when a small pod of killer whales were spotted in Chatham Strait. Read More>

Jul 24, 2016 National Geographic Sea Bird in Alaska

Sifnos, Greece

Our final day in the Cycladic Islands was spent on the picturesque island of Sifnos. Located in the western Cyclades, Sifnos was famed in antiquity for its gold and silver mines. We began with a stroll through the medieval town of Kastro, which served as the capital of the island in antiquity and throughout the Venetian occupation. The labyrinthine alleys of this fortified town, originally a defensive feature, today offer photographers a glimpse at traditional Cycladic life, free of the modern commercialism that is creeping into many of the towns of this region. A twisting path through the back wall of the town opened onto a breathtaking view of the Aegean below. Standing out amongst the sparkling turquoise waters, the tiny, whitewashed Church of the Seven Martyrs beckoned some to an additional hike down to the seaside.  From Kastro, we continued on to the bustling port town of Kamares, where we had the chance to admire the local earthenware pottery that has been a major island export since the period of Venetian rule. Read More>

Jul 24, 2016 Sea Cloud in Mediterranean

Ísafjörður, Iceland

Waking up to partly blue skies and warm conditions by Arctic standards, we had an early start in the Westfjords. Nestled between steep slopes carved by glaciers we docked along a pier in Ísafjörður, the largest town in the region. Guests divided into three groups and enjoyed a myriad of animals, flora, and scenery through two tours of the area. As our bus traveled through the foot of majestic snow-covered mountains, we listened to stories from our Icelandic guide about long winters, elves working hard to protect both people and the environment, and the upcoming national championship for swamp soccer, which is held yearly in Ísafjörður. Read More>

Jul 23, 2016 National Geographic Explorer in Arctic

Genovesa

Our last full day in the Galapagos will be spent on the spectacular northern island of Genovesa, also known by the English name of Tower, one of the most pristine islands in the archipelago. This will provide an overwhelming seabird experience. From frigate birds, red-footed boobies, Nazca boobies and swallow-tailed gulls, to storm petrels and tropicbirds, this low, brushy island serves as a beacon to winged ocean wanderers. Early in the morning we will be entering via a narrow, shallow underwater channel into the bay. Read More>

Jul 23, 2016 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

Bear Island and Sailing South

As we approached Bear Island before breakfast, light fog enshrouded the higher peaks of the southern tip of the island.  Conditions were perfect for our morning Zodiac cruise: light winds, partly sunny skies, limited swell, and hundreds of thousands of birds. This is one of the greatest Zodiac cruises and in these conditions, we were in for a certain treat. Near our anchorage, a small group of puffins were nesting in a scree slope. Read More>

Jul 23, 2016 National Geographic Orion in Arctic

Santorini

Every day a surprise, every day a unique experience. Sea Cloud spent the night in the caldera at Santorini and we started our day with the amazing picture of the blue Aegean and the caldera in front of our eyes when we woke up, waiting for us to explore them. The local tender boat took us out and we drove up through the island of Santorini. First was Oia, the traditional city of the island, with whitewashed houses and blue domed churches. We shopped, explored, and walked all over before enjoying a drink in the cafes that overlooked the great view of the caldera. Leaving Oia we then went to lunch and tasted the local flavors and the famous products of the island. Our day in Santorini wouldn’t be complete without visiting the museum and prehistoric city, buried under the pumice of the volcano for some 3,000 years. Read More>

Jul 23, 2016 Sea Cloud in Mediterranean

Pavlov Harbor and Lake Eva

We awoke this morning to find typical southeast Alaska weather: clouds, wind, and steady rain. The National Geographic Sea Lion cruised into Pavlov Harbor on the south side of Chichagof Island and dropped anchor. We geared up in layers and boarded expedition landing crafts to check out the shoreline in search of brown bears. Near the waterfall, we sighted a female brown bear with her two cubs that were in search of migrating salmon. After breakfast, we raised anchor and began cruising south along Chatham Strait, looking for things of interest. Read More>

Jul 23, 2016 National Geographic Sea Lion in Alaska

Dynjandi Falls, Arnarfjöƌur and Vigur Island, Isafjöƌur

National Geographic Explorer was at anchor in the North arm of Arnarfjöƌur and the majestic sight of Dynjandi Falls was just off our bow. This spectacular waterfall, meaning “thunderous” spills from the basalt cliff in a wide swath of frothing meltwater necking down with each successive plunge over the basalt terraces left by the volcanic activity that formed this island making it arguably one of the most beautiful in all of Iceland. This morning we set out to hike up the trail alongside this marvel obtaining stunning views as each tier was reached, seven in total. To remind us that we were in the wilds and not some movie set, small companions in the form of midges swarmed around our heads, not biting but merely making their presence known. Our expedition team offered kayaking as an option to explore this remarkable setting to take advantage of the calm conditions and mild temperatures. Kayakers also were afforded the opportunity to get a closer look at the falls on foot, either before or after their paddle. Our afternoon was spent sailing to the next destination, which we would visit after dinner. Read More>

Jul 22, 2016 National Geographic Explorer in Arctic

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

 

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