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Komodo Island National Park, Indonesia

We awoke this morning to another glorious Indonesian sunrise and enjoyed a relaxing breakfast on deck before preparing for our morning activities. Full of anticipation, we made the short Zodiac transfer to Rinca Island, part of the Komodo Island National Park. We were greeted on the jetty by a very cheeky group of long-tailed macaques who were playing in the mangroves all around us. Read More>

Oct 22, 2014 National Geographic Orion in Borneo & Indonesia

Fernandina and Isabela Island

Early in the morning we entered Bolivar Canal. We went with our coffees to our outer decks to observe this majestic scenario: the new Islands of Isabela and Fernandina, both with their volcanoes and lava fields.   Six active shield volcanoes are standing in this area. Read More>

Oct 21, 2014 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

Urvina Bay & Tagus Cove

Tuesday, in the morning, National Geographic Endeavour anchored at the foot of Alcedo Volcano on the island of Isabela; the largest island in the Galapagos and the only one formed by six large young volcanos.   Alcedo is known throughout the world for having the largest endemic tortoise population. Read More>

Oct 21, 2014 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Hell’s Canyon, Snake River & Clearwater River

Having passed through the locks of two dams last night we awoke this morning to the ship settling into its final mooring for this expedition, Clarkston, Washington. After a gentle but invigorating stretch class with Susan, and another delicious breakfast prepared by the ship’s chefs, I made my way to the sign-out board and onto the jet boat waiting to take us to Hell’s Canyon National Recreation Area. As we began our more than 50-mile-ride upriver, houses that had dotted the banks on either side began to disappear and were soon replaced with ranchland, mountains, and basaltic rock cliffs with incredible geometric patterns. We took up a swift pace but slowed to inspect a beaver lodge on the banks as well as two coyotes. We then continued on until the water was running fast, unaffected by dams now too far downstream to slow it. After traveling nearly 37 miles on the Snake River we stopped for a morning break and were joined by a mule deer and more than eight wild turkeys! Back on the boats we traveled another 13 miles upriver and turned around after reaching the fork of the Snake and Salmon Rivers. After lunch at the Garden Creek Nature Conservancy land we were back on the jet boats heading downstream but stopped for both a large group of big horn sheep foraging close to the river’s rocky edge, as well as ancient Indian petroglyphs. From then it was a speedy return, descending the more than 315 feet we climbed to get there.  Another group from our ship opted to explore some of the campsites of the Lewis and Clark expedition along the Clearwater River. Read More>

Oct 21, 2014 National Geographic Sea Bird in Pacific Northwest

Sumbawa Island, Indonesia

This morning we began our voyage from Bali to the Great Barrier Reef in grand style, cruising into the harbor at Badas on the north coast of Sumbawa, two islands east of Bali. This small port lies at the foot of the vast stub of Gunung Tambora, the great volcano that exploded with unimaginable violence in 1815, filling the world’s skies with ash and bringing on the “year without a summer.”  It seemed an appropriately superlative opening to our explorations through this greatest of archipelagos. Secure to the dock at Badas, we left the ship immediately after breakfast and climbed into small buses that carried us up into the dry hills of the island to the village of Pamulung. Read More>

Oct 21, 2014 National Geographic Orion in Borneo & Indonesia

Paranagua

Somewhere in the course of the evening National Geographic Explorer passed out of tropics, but just barely. Paranagua lies roughly at 26º south, we began our expedition in Salvador at 13º south latitude so far having sailed nearly 800 nautical miles of Brazil's coastline. This is of significance because the Atlantic forest ecosystem, with the richest biodiversity on Earth, spans that same 800 miles with another 600 more miles lying north of Salvador. Prior to Portuguese colonizing these shores in the 16th century the Atlantic Forest covered over 1.25 million square kilometers now, sadly, less than 100,000 square kilometers remain intact. Of that remaining forest, 99% exists in very small fragments of less than ½ km². Today our time in Paranagua and the surrounding area will be our last day exploring the Atlantic forest as we sail further south the climate and ecosystems transition from coastal forests to the flat and expansive pampas of southeastern Brazil.  One of our outings today traveled to the capital of Parana State, Curitiba, situated in the middle of the Serra do Mar mountains, where we boarded the Serra Verde Express train to Morretes. Read More>

Oct 20, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in South American East Coast

Palouse River & Lower Monumental Dam

Our wakeup announcement came this morning to clear skies, already lightening with the sun’s imminent arrival. Our earliest light yet, due in part to being further east, and in part because there were no clouds or fog to veil the sun’s rays. The temperature, however, was a chilly 51° F. National Geographic Sea Bird had crossed over into the Snake River while we slept, and the morning was devoted to traveling east towards the Palouse River where we planned to anchor for the afternoon. The terrain along the riverbanks and inland now had completely transformed to desert scrub and amber-colored grasses. (And yes, Geologist Grace, more basalt!) In the first part of the morning, our historian led a talk and lively discussion on “Rivers, Dams, and Fish: Conflicts in the Pacific Northwest.” In the latter part of the morning we arrived at the Lower Monumental Dam. The crew climbed up to the lido deck and lowered a few expedition landing craft into the water, and a number of people went through the locks for this water-eye vantage point.  During lunch we arrived at our anchorage on the Palouse for our afternoon activities. Read More>

Oct 20, 2014 National Geographic Sea Bird in Pacific Northwest

Bartolome and Rabida Islands

Our pre-breakfast outing this morning was fantastic. We hiked to the summit of Bartolome Island, a tiny little island full of geological wonders. Named after Bartholomew Sullivan, the 2nd Lieutenant on board the Beagle, Bartolome is the perfect site to explain the geological origin of the islands and the arrival of colonization and of species over thousands or even millions of years. Lichens and pioneer plants such as lava cactus and the endemic “tiquilia nesiotica” are the organisms that cause the bio-erosion of the lava, converting it into soil where other less-adapted species will be able to survive.  The view from the top is breathtaking, full of spatter cones, lava tubes, and “hornitos,” all of which are common features on the volcanic landscape that seem taken from a movie of the moon. Read More>

Oct 20, 2014 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

Fernandina & Isabela Islands

This area is a strange and wonderful place here in Galapagos as we explore the western part of the archipelago. The surrounding ocean brightens as we search for cetaceans in the early morning along the Bolivar Channel, which separates Fernandina and Isabela islands. Splashes are spotted in the distance and as we approach we encounter short-finned pilot whales with their distinctive falcate dorsal fins. Among the pod there are five small dorsal fins which indicate calves among the group. We are able to have a close look at these large members of the Delphinidae family (large oceanic dolphins) as they are quite slow in the water when not diving; however, they are known to make extremely long dives of over 1000 feet searching for squid as a food source. Then, no longer than 10 minutes after finding the first group we come upon another; however, this large group is mixed with bottlenose dolphins that come to the bow of the ship to “ride” the bow wave. This was a great start to the day, and then we arrived at Fernandina Island. Read More>

Oct 20, 2014 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

The Dalles & Maryhill

Today we continued our adventure of exploration along the Columbia River. Our first stop was at Rowena Crest where we had sweeping views of the river and basalt cliffs. Then we drove to the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and Wasco County Museum. The exhibits on the geology and cultural history of the gorge were varied and visually stimulating. Of great interest were the displays of two live raptors, representatives of the birds of prey inhabiting the gorge, and the exhibit of the items of cargo carried by Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery. Some guests returned to the National Geographic Sea Bird by a 5.5-mile bike path, while others walked back via a shorter route. Others took a nature or photo walk around the natural area behind the Discovery Center. Yet other guests returned via motor coach to Lewis and Clark’s Rock Fort campsite, where the explorers spent time going downriver in 1805 and upriver in 1806. After lunch on board, we traveled by motor coach across the Columbia River to the Washington side for a visit to the Maryhill Art Museum. Read More>

Oct 19, 2014 National Geographic Sea Bird in Pacific Northwest

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

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Daily Expedition Report Information

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