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Praslin and La Digue Islands

We spent the morning on Praslin Island, the second largest of the Seychelles central granitic group (population about 6,500 people). Like Mahe, it has a mountainous ridge running on an east-west line down the center. The island’s main attraction is, of course, the famous Vallée de Mai, which is now a World Heritage Site. Vallée de Mai is one of the few climax palm forests in the world and is best known for its amazing and mysterious growth of coco de mer palms, an endemic species that is distinguished by having both the largest leaf and the largest seed in the entire world. This spectacular palm got its name centuries ago from the belief that it grew on the sea floor somewhere in the Indian Ocean, because it was only known from seeds that had floated ashore in the Maldives or other coastal regions. These rare specimens were carved into ornate containers and were worth a fortune. Only a few examples survive today. Right after breakfast, most of us went directly to the beautiful palm forest in order to enjoy hiking among the fascinating endemic flora, which also includes an additional five species of palms. In spite of the typical heat and humidity of this tropical island, conditions were quite pleasant walking in the shade of the giant palms. One of the highlights of our hike this morning was the sighting of a rare, endemic Seychelles black parrot. At the same time, several guests opted to spend the morning at the beautiful white coralline sand beach known as Anse Lazio, just one of many excellent beaches found here on Praslin Island. During lunch, we sailed over to nearby La Digue (the fourth largest island, population about 2,500), where we spent the rest of the day. Read More>

Apr 23, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Southern Africa & the Indian Ocean

Isabela Island

The day is young as we start out for an early walk at Urbina Bay on the west coast of Isabela Island. Isabela is the largest island with a landmass of over 4,000 square kilometers with six large shield volcanoes. We land at an area that was completely underwater prior to 1954 and due to a volcanic uplift, the seafloor was pushed up in certain areas to over 4 meters out of the water.  Venturing inland we encounter various remnants of the submarine uplift such as shells, sand dollars, and Venus mollusk shells. Land iguana burrows litter the ground under the vegetation with an occasional iguana peeking out from their realm. Incense trees, Yellow Cordia bushes, and poison apple trees encircle us as we continue on the path and we come upon a small Galapagos tortoise that is “bulldozing” through the dense vegetation. Darwin finches line our trail and are continually singing as the season provides abundant food. After our hearty breakfast we return to Urbina bay beach to snorkel and eventually have a “Mega” swim to the National Geographic Islander. The afternoon unfolds at an historic site called Tagus Cove, which has been a safe anchorage for ships. Read More>

Apr 22, 2015 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

Santiago Island

In the early hours of the day, we arrived to the west coast of Santiago Island. Read More>

Apr 22, 2015 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Isabela & Fernandina Island

We woke up to a wonderful landscape of the western islands of the enchanted archipelago, with the intention to visit the largest island of the Galapagos. Read More>

Apr 21, 2015 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

Isabela Island

To the west are the youngest, and so the most volcanic, islands of the archipelago. This one is the largest, and it’s here where we spent the day for our activities. The first one was at a location called Urbina Bay, where our guests could chose between a short and long hike. Both offer good opportunities of wildlife viewing, such as large land iguanas and also giant tortoises occasionally. Land birds are also everywhere here, from Darwin’s finches, Galapagos hawks, warblers and Galapagos mockingbirds, to some waders and sea birds like the unique flightless cormorants and pelicans. Read More>

Apr 21, 2015 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Bartholomew and Rabid Islands

The early morning light was gentle…but only briefly. On the equator the sun seems to jump above the horizon (and fall quickly below at sunset), with only a few minutes to really see the event itself. Fortunately, clouds provided respite for the climb, disappearing after breakfast just in time for snorkeling and swimming. The plan for the morning was to climb the wooden steps built by the Galapagos National Park, all the way to the top – 359 feet above sea level!  It was successful and most of our guests made it to one of the most iconic views in the archipelago. Read More>

Apr 20, 2015 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

Fernandina & Isabela Islands

As we approach this area today we found ourselves surrounded by huge pods of common dolphins, at least 300 hundred of them swimming and jumping out of the water—what a neat surprise and what a wonderful way to start our day! The westernmost islands of this archipelago, Fernandina and Isabela are the youngest islands of them all. Read More>

Apr 20, 2015 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Pralin, La Digue & Mahe Islands, Seychelles

We arrived during breakfast to views of Praslin Island laid out before us—rusty red soil cloaked in forest, hillsides dotted with habitation, lodges, and villas—we had arrived into the more “metropolitan” Seychelles. Yet another beautifully sunny morning and gentle breeze greeted us for a lovely breakfast on the open deck. Read More>

Apr 20, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Southern Africa & the Indian Ocean

Los Islotes & Bahia Bonanza

Coming to the end of a week full of dynamic experiences, National Geographic Sea Lion chose to set the bar even higher by having guests awaken anchored off Los Islotes. Widely known for its gathering of California sea lions and excellent snorkeling, we took the water early before any other boats could arrive. With but a glance into the shimmering world below, the scope of life that inhabits the islands were quickly realized. Large schools of scissortail damselfish and yellowtail surgeonfish scoured the rocks in search of the algae that grew upon them, as well as the even more colorful loners like the Cortez rainbow wrasse and panamic fanged goby. Not to be outdone, the California sea lions quickly leapt into the water to look over the new inhabitants. Read More>

Apr 19, 2015 National Geographic Sea Lion in Baja California

North Seymour & Rábida Islands

This oceanic archipelago was formed millions of year ago due to intense volcanic activity, and it was never connected to any continental mass—it means these islands were born from the ocean floor. This week we are going to explore different islands in this part of this world, and this morning, on our first full day in Galápagos, we had the chance to disembark at North Seymour, this small geological formation that is the result of an uplifting mechanical process, when molting rock combined with water and gases can cause a lot of pressure, islands like North Seymour can be formed in a short period of time, and sometimes even larger areas, and in Galápagos we have lot of examples. Read More>

Apr 19, 2015 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

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Daily Expedition Report Information

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