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Lake Eva and Cruising Chatham Straight

It’s been an action packed day here in southeast Alaska. We woke up to an early morning sighting of killer whales just off the bow of the ship, providing spectacular views of these amazing animals in their environment. We followed the pod for nearly an hour with beautiful morning light that made for unbelievable photography. Killer whales live in matriarchal groups, with an alpha female who leads the pod. In this case there were several young males, easily identified by the markings on their dorsal fins and saddle patches, following their mother. It was a fantastic way to start the day. After the amazing whale sighting this morning, we made our way to Lake Eva where we spent our morning hiking and kayaking. Read More>

Aug 27, 2015 National Geographic Sea Lion in Alaska

Beechey Island & Devon Island

For a maritime historian and archaeologist like myself, this morning’s expedition to the barren, windswept beach of Beechey Island at the entrance of Wellington Channel was particularly poignant. For it was here that Sir John Franklin spent the winter of 1845-1846; it was here that he left a cairn pointing out the direction in which he was heading to find the elusive Northwest Passage; and it here that the first three members of his crew died and were buried. We all had the opportunity to visit the graves of Franklin’s crew who had succumbed to pneumonia and lead poisoning from the badly soldered canned foods. The simple headboards of the graves stood like sentinels at right angles to the sea facing west in the direction their fellow shipmates were to sail to their doom. Further down the beach was the scattered remains of Northumberland House, a temporary shelter built in 1853 to house more than 200 men of Sir Edward Belcher’s Arctic Squadron, one of the many expeditions sent out to scour the Arctic Archipelago for the missing expedition in the decade following Franklin’s disappearance. Read More>

Aug 26, 2015 National Geographic Explorer in Arctic

Santiago/James Island

After several days out in the western region, the most remote part of the Archipelago, the National Geographic Endeavour has relocated overnight back into the central area of the Galapagos. We anchored just as the sun started to rise, revealing a very different landscape than the one we had experienced at the younger islands of Fernandina and Isabela. Read More>

Aug 26, 2015 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Urbina Bay & Tagus Cove, Isabela Island

Today we explored the western realms of this enchanted archipelago.  Urbina Bay, our visitors’ site in the morning, is a place of great geological interest because an unusual event occurred as recent as 1954. In the scientific literature it is stated that a strong earthquake of 6.5 on the Richter scale took place in this area on June 4th, 1954 provoking a huge area adjacent to the coastline to uplift, leaving many marine creatures high and dry.  It is still possible to see huge pieces of brain coral many feet inland. A healthy and thriving population of Galapagos land iguanas live around this area and we saw several of them along the trails. At the end of the walk, as the sun was stronger, we had the chance to cool off on the landing beach. Once back onboard, the ship was repositioned to the south to Tagus Cove, a place where we spent the rest of the day. Read More>

Aug 26, 2015 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

Glacier Bay National Park

The day started early (0230!) for some guests when the call came over the P.A. system about the northern lights (aurora borealis) display. As National Geographic Sea Lion traveled north in Glacier Bay National Park, the Great Bear constellation (Big Dipper - Ursa major, the symbol on Alaska’s state flag) was draped in shifting curtains of green light. We were fortunate to have the rare combination of conditions necessary for good viewing of this phenomenon—clear dark skies and charged particles from the sun entering the earth’s atmosphere and interacting with various gases. By dawn we were situated in front of Margerie and Grand Pacific Glaciers at the end of Tarr Inlet—the northernmost extent of our voyage. Read More>

Aug 26, 2015 National Geographic Sea Lion in Alaska

Along the Great Glen to Corpach & Glenfinnan

A beautiful calm morning with stunning reflections on the waters of the Caledonian Canal soon enticed us to come on deck. Our sail with Lord of the Glens took us across the highest point of the canal at Loch Oich at 106 feet. Here Konia entertained us with some gruesome stories up to Laggan Avenue. Trees on the shore keep up the banks and create the amazing impression of sailing through a forest—on a cruise ship! Photographic opportunities galore where pointed out by Steve and then David did a talk on the Highland Clearances explaining much about this landscape steeped in history. Over lunch we sailed down Neptune’s Staircase. Read More>

Aug 26, 2015 Lord of the Glens in Scotland

Isabela and Fernandina Islands

Our navigation took us to the western and youngest of the Galapagos islands. As we navigated early in the morning along the northern tip of Bolivar channel, we encountered 4 humpback whales swimming north. A morning wake up call for whale watching was offered we got a fantastic show. A few pelagic ocean birds were also spotted including the endemic Galapagos petrel.  After breakfast another pod of whales was spotted, but this time we observed three very rare Blue whales, two adults and one juvenile. Read More>

Aug 25, 2015 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

Amazon Natural Park & Nauta Caño

During our exploration of the upper Amazon, we have experienced a magic combination of wildlife. Today we had a marvelous taste of it at two of the most magical places of the area. In the morning we visited a natural treasure: The Amazon Natural Park. Read More>

Aug 25, 2015 Delfin II in Amazon

Isabela Island

Isabela, the largest island in the Galápagos group, is created by the fusion of six enormous shield volcanoes, which give rise to the characteristic “seahorse” shape of the island. In 1954, 1. Read More>

Aug 25, 2015 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Inian islands and Fox Creek

Long fronds of all three of the largest species of kelp –bull, dragon and giant- in the Pacific northwest covered a big part of the calm waters near our anchorage at the Inian islands; beneath the glassy surface kelp form extensive underwater forests that provide food and shelter for a number of creatures, from sea urchins and nudibranchs to sea otters and harbor seals. Many different species of sea stars crawl on top of their holdfasts and on the lower portions of their stipes, including rose, blood and velcro stars; the heavy-weight champion of the sea star world, the sunflower star, prowls on the bottom looking for pretty much everything it can catch, from clams and barnacles to other sea stars and even the occasional fish. All that and more I witnessed before breakfast this morning while SCUBA diving and documented it on video to share with everybody on board during recap. During the morning we all explored the small archipelago of the Inians using our expedition landing craft. Read More>

Aug 25, 2015 National Geographic Sea Lion in Alaska

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