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Lastest Expedition Reports

Apia, Samoa

The Samoan Archipelago is a cohesive group of islands--geologically, culturally, and linguistically—that has been divided through world events into two political units. In the late 19th century, several colonial powers struggled against one another in order to gain control over these beautiful Polynesian islands—like they had with all the other major island groups in the South Pacific. As it developed, Germany gained control over the western Samoan islands and the Americans got control of the eastern Samoan islands. With end of World War I, New Zealand took over the administration of the German region, and then oversaw its independence in 1962, first as Western Samoa, and now officially as Samoa.   The Samoan islands used to be known to European explorers as the “Navigator Islands” because the Samoans exhibited phenomenal seafaring skills. Read More>

Nov 24, 2014 National Geographic Orion in Pacific Islands & Australia

Niuatoputapu, Tonga

Today we were in the farthest northern realm of the Kingdom of Tonga where two isolated islands are seldom visited. Our hope for the morning was to go ashore on the island of Niuatoputapu. Today was Sunday, and this morning we anticipated finding most of the island’s population attending church. The Tongan people are well known for their joyful and harmonious singing at such weekly functions. In Tonga, Sundays are mandated as a day of rest with strictly no work, to go to church, and for family feasts.   We headed in by Zodiac across the open ocean, eventually reaching a narrow entrance through the fringing reef into the island’s inner lagoon. Read More>

Nov 23, 2014 National Geographic Orion in Pacific Islands & Australia

Point Wild, Elephant Island & into the Bransfield Strait

Point Wild, Elephant Island: a good place to spend an expedition morning in the early Antarctic summer, but four months, through an Antarctic winter??! Maybe not, but the men of Ernest Shackleton's ship Endurance had no choice.  April 16, 1916: The three lifeboats from Endurance, newly named after the expedition's main sponsors James B. Read More>

Nov 23, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Antarctica

Española Island

We started our trip by visiting the oldest Island of the archipelago: Española or Hood Island. This little landmass is situated at the easternmost point of the Galapagos Map. Our first stop was Gardner Bay and Gardner Islet. Read More>

Nov 23, 2014 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

San Cristobal Island

Today we are visiting the easternmost island in the Galapagos: San Cristobal Island. This is the most beautiful island in the archipelago and the one that has yielded the most famous naturalists of all time, Charles Darwin included. The place is full of sea lions, and sea birds such as the red-footed booby, red-billed tropic birds, brown noddy terns, frigates, Nazca boobies, and the always original blue-footed boobies. All enclosed in a magical, beautiful beach, and surrounded by rocky cliffs and blue waters.  In the morning, we started exploring a small offshore island which is home to a diversity of seabirds and many sea lions. Read More>

Nov 22, 2014 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

At sea bound for Antarctica

Despite having all the potential for providing us with “just another day at sea,” 22 November actually delivered a plethora of excitement and education. Read More>

Nov 22, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Antarctica

Santa Cruz Island

It was time for the National Geographic Islander to visit civilization. Although we had pristine wildlife on our previous days, this was the day to learn about projects and all the efforts currently happening for the conservation of the Galapagos species. The town of Puerto Ayora holds the headquarters of the Galapagos National Park Service and the Charles Darwin Research Station, both of which work together for the conservation of the enchanted archipelago. We started our day by visiting the breeding center of the National Park. Read More>

Nov 21, 2014 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

At Sea, Scotia Sea

Yesterday in the afternoon our captain took the ship deep into Drygalski fjord, named after the famous German Antarctic explorer who sailed with his ship Gauss to East Antarctica in 1901. Drygalski has the last green vegetation, including some minor spots with tussock grass we will see until we arrive back to Tierra del Fuego.   Today we had our first encounter of “Antarctica feeling” with cold rugged glaciers, later followed by the sighting of a huge iceberg, B-17A, which has drifted from the Ross Sea. From now on our voyage will be about ice! To encounter a massive tabular iceberg is always a wonderful experience. Read More>

Nov 21, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Antarctica

San Cristobal Island

Today was our last day in paradise, on this adventure which seems unreal. Even though we are from different generations and even centuries, today we were bonded together as one, and the Galapagos brought magic to our souls and mind. Traveling and reaching Fernandina to San Cristobal islands, the youngest and one of the oldest in the archipelago, on an expedition which takes us on a journey of discovery through time. San Cristobal Island is one of the oldest islands in the Galapagos. Today we land on a green olivine beach. The volcanic scenery that we observed during our invigorating hike is spectacular; the peaks of tuff high in the sky make this site very different from what we have already observed. Punta Pitt also has impressive scenery from up above – here we could see the deteriorated inversion layer, ready to leave us, but for now keeping us cool and pleasantly comfortable for this walk. Read More>

Nov 21, 2014 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

At Sea to Tonga

As National Geographic Orion continues her voyage east through the South Pacific, today we were at sea between Fiji and our next island group of Tonga. It is a journey of about 400 miles, and in doing so we are leaving Melanesia behind us and heading out into the many islands of Polynesia. International boundaries and labels such as Melanesia and Polynesia are, to a certain extent, arbitrary, and the island groups are perhaps better thought of in terms of a continuum from west to east. However, in many respects the transitions between island groups are very real and we will encounter, and are looking forward to experiencing, some distinct cultural changes.  The day at sea was a great chance to watch for passing seabirds. Read More>

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

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Daily Expedition Report Information

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