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Komodo Island: Indonesia

Today we were full of anticipation, to come face to face with the legendary Komodo dragon. We made the short Zodiac transfer to Loh Liang, the entry point for Komodo Island National Park. We all gathered at the Ranger Station for a briefing by the Park Ranger. The evolutionary development of the Komodo dragon started with the Varanus genus, which originated in Asia about 40 million years ago and migrated to Australia. Read More>

Aug 22, 2014 National Geographic Orion in Pacific Islands & Australia

Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve

What could be better than waking up in front of a breathtaking landscape? Well, that is exactly what we did this morning when we had the chance to admire the beautiful Margerie glacier before breakfast; after having picked-up a National Park Ranger and a Tlingit Cultural Interpreter last night in Gustavus, the National Geographic Sea Bird navigated all night long through the 57-mile-long bay to be in front of the glacier. Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve is an immense protected area that includes numerous glaciers, but the Margerie is possibly its most famous one. It certainly is impressive with its magnificent spires of ice, its thunderous sounds, and its frequent calving episodes. Much less conspicuous but very important, is the Grand Pacific glacier, its quiet neighbor. Covered with dirt and rocks gathered by one of its tributaries, the Ferris glacier, the Grand Pacific looks like an innocuous hill but is actually the glacier that carved the whole bay.   After having witnessed numerous great calvings, we headed south towards Russell Island looking for wildlife; we were not disappointed, as we found a brown bear sow with her two cubs walking along the shoreline. Read More>

Aug 21, 2014 National Geographic Sea Bird in Alaska

South Plaza and Santa Fe Islands

Today was “reptile day” for us in the Galapagos. Cold blooded animals have successfully colonized these islands for millions of years. Some of these reptiles are bigger, more colorful and more attractive than others.  In the case of the land iguanas, there are three species within the islands. One species is located only in Santa Fe Island, another inhabits six different islands, and the recently discovered pink land iguana can only be found on one volcano within Isabela Island. Every one of them has found their niche and had to adapt to their home island.   There are two islands where life inhabits within a unique and astonishing landscape. Read More>

Aug 21, 2014 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

Bartolome and Chinese Hat Islands

Another day in the mysterious islands, as the Galapagos surprised us with their unique wildlife. This morning we were at Bartolome Island. This iconic part of the archipelago is one of the most visited by people all over the world.  The volcanic landscape and the pioneer plants growing on its barren volcanic soil with recent lava flows made our early outing unforgettable.  It gave us a deep understanding of the geology of the island as well as the process of founding. New organisms managed their way onto the island, surviving a long period of drought. The famous landmark of Bartolome Island is its Pinnacle Rock, which is a rock that has been shaped by Mother Nature through its elements, water and wind. Read More>

Aug 21, 2014 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Larantuka, Indonesia

The warmth and humidity of Indonesia could definitely be felt as we ventured outside to have breakfast on deck of the National Geographic Orion this morning.  As we navigated between lush mountains and extinct volcanoes to find our anchorage, local fishermen passed close by in their colorful wood-planked boats in order to get a closer look at their visitors for the day.  After a brief clearance from the local authorities, the Zodiacs were dropped and we were on our way for yet another adventure in this capital city on the island of Flores.  Upon reaching the dock it was obvious that Larantuka is a central hub for this area that was once a colony of Portugal for 300 years.  The hustle and bustle was impossible to ignore and almost overwhelming with motorbikes, buses, cars and people everywhere.  Making our way through the crowds, we managed to find our local guides and be on our way to a local market.  The market was full of almost anything and everything one could possibly need, and plenty of things that one probably wouldn’t as well. Read More>

Aug 21, 2014 National Geographic Orion in Pacific Islands & Australia

Santa Cruz Island

We´ve completed four expedition days navigating in the Galápagos Islands onboard the National Geographic Islander. So far every day has proven these groups of oceanic islands are one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world with a high degree of endemism. Santa Cruz Island is where we stayed the whole day anchored at Academy Bay, situated just in the base of Puerto Ayora, the most populated town in the Galápagos. Read More>

Aug 20, 2014 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

Red Bluff Bay, Chatham Strait, and Lake Eva

Wildlife and waterfalls! What a day!  From sunrise to sunset our day was spent enjoying the finest of Southeast Alaska. Read More>

Aug 20, 2014 National Geographic Sea Lion in Alaska

Port Althorp, Inian Islands

Southeast Alaska is always an amazing place to spend time, but every once in a while you get that one day when there are no clouds in the sky, warm temperatures, and special wildlife moments. Today was one of those days! It didn’t start out that way, with fog and low clouds early, but by the time breakfast was being served all that changed, and we had perfect conditions for our morning activities. Those activities were happening in a bay on the northwest side of Chichagof Island, called Port Althorp, an area that we don’t visit much, but has a lot to offer our intrepid guest. Read More>

Aug 20, 2014 National Geographic Sea Bird in Alaska

Santa Cruz Island

We arrived early in the morning to northern Santa Cruz. We were now far away from the inhabited areas of this island, and the panorama looked quite different with the landscape being dominated by bare incense trees and prickly Opuntia trees instead of the greenery of the southern coast. It is here where we find a visitor’s site called Cerro Dragon, named after the endemic yellow-colored land iguanas that inhabit it. Since it is their last ‘kingdom’ on this island, major conservation projects have been carried out by the National Park, mainly to increase their numbers that have been decimated by predation in the past. We landed on the shoreline and followed an inland trail that led us to the land iguanas’ territories. We walked past cacti and spiny bushes, and soon enough we started finding them: most were warming themselves up in the mild temperatures of this morning, while others had started to patrol their territories. We were expecting to find just a few of them, since they are usually well camouflaged, but today’s weather was on our side and we found two or three dozens of them! After such a successful excursion we returned back onboard to get into our snorkeling gear and leave once more. This time were ready to explore the underwater world of a group of rocks named Guy Fawkes. They are the remains of an eroded tuff cone located far from the coast, and the snorkeling here was quite stunning: there were large schools of king angel fish, scissor-tailed chromis and razor surgeons. Colorful fish were to be found here too like the blue-chin and the bump-head parrotfish, barberfish and harlequin wrasses. Alongside a magnificent wall we had a close encounter of a local inhabitant of these rocks: a Galapagos penguin, which amazed us with its diving skills and speedy swimming. Some of our guests preferred to enjoy the peace and tranquility of a local little beach, where they could just swim and relax. In the afternoon we changed our location and navigated westwards towards Eden Islet. Read More>

Aug 20, 2014 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Dili: Timor Leste

We were full of excited anticipation as National Geographic Orion approached the capital city of East Timor, Dili. Many of us were on the outer decks to witness the berthing procedure, as we came alongside the Port of Dili. Dili lies on the northern coast of Timor Island, the easternmost of the Lesser Sunda Islands. It is the seat of the administration of the district of Dili, which is the administrative entity of the area and includes the island of Atauro and some cities close to Dili city. Dili is a melting pot of the different ethnic groups of East Timor, due partly to the internal migration of young men from around the country in search of work. Dili was settled about 1520 by the Portuguese, who made it the capital of Portuguese Timor in 1769. Read More>

Aug 20, 2014 National Geographic Orion in Pacific Islands & Australia

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