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Wyndham, Ord River, Bungle Bungle, Western Australia

Sunrise found National Geographic Orion secured to the dock in Wyndham. Wyndham was established in 1886 when gold was found in Halls Creek. It is the oldest and northernmost town in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. It lies at one end of the Great Northern Highway that stretches over 2000 miles southwest to the city of Perth.

Today is our last full day in the Kimberley region and our exploration takes us further inland than any previous day.

Jul 28, 2014 National Geographic Orion in Pacific Islands & Australia

Pavlof Harbor, Chicagof Island

Running in circles, getting packed for your big trip to Alaska, airports, airlines, endless sitting, and where did it get you? Floating in calm waters off of Admiralty Island with a humpback whale bobbing next to the good ship National Geographic Sea Bird. Miss the bustle and hurry? Then how about the calf humpback whale that was splashing about as we navigated back into Chatham Strait.

Congratulations, you have arrived for a trip of a lifetime in Southeast Alaska.

Jul 27, 2014 National Geographic Sea Bird in Alaska

King George River

The King George River was one of the highlights of the Kimberley voyage aboard National Geographic Orion. What a pity that explorer Philip Parker King completely overlooked this incredible river, because he missed one of the jewels of the Kimberley, a stunning gorge cut from 1.8 billion year old King Leopold sandstone that ends (in navigational terms at least) in an 80 metre (260 ft.) twin waterfall that is breathtaking to behold.

After making a brief diversion to see a very large mound of sticks, an inadequate description for the rather impressive nest of a white-bellied sea eagle (heliaeetus leucogaster), with both parents attending to the carnivorous needs of their young, our group of trusty Zodiacs had far less trouble finding the entrance to King George River than P.

Jul 27, 2014 National Geographic Orion in Pacific Islands & Australia

North Seymour and Rabida Islands

We began our first full day into our expedition into the Galapagos Islands with great excitement. Our morning destination today was to a small island just north of Baltra called North Seymour, which is known to be one of the highlights of the archipelago, due to the number of seabirds that inhabit it. We set foot ashore only to be greeted by one of the “locals,” a friendly juvenile Galapagos sea lion. North Seymour is located in an area of high productivity, and therefore has been chosen by various marine birds as their breeding grounds. Numerous magnificent and great frigates flew around us, showing of their fantastic aerial skills. We discovered that the more we moved inland the greater the number of frigate bird nests we could find. Many nesters were actually the juvenile, inexperienced frigates that were simply waiting to be fed by their returning parents, while a few male frigates had already puffed up their bright red pouches and were trying to attract a mate in the new breeding season. One of the most charismatic species of the islands is the blue-footed booby. Today we were very fortunate to have found several couples that seemed to be in the process of bonding in preparation to breed. North Seymour is also inhabited by a number of swallow-tailed gulls, many of which were having a rest along the shore. It was a well-earned daytime rest, as one has to remember that this species is a nocturnal hunter.

In the afternoon, after a short navigation, we moved on to Rabida Island, further north.

Jul 27, 2014 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Pavlof Harbor and Basket Bay

We awoke this morning to find more liquid Alaskan sunshine. National Geographic Sea Lion cruised into Pavlof Harbor on the south side of Chichagof Island and dropped anchor. Originally named Gavan Pavlof (Paul’s Harbor) by Russian fur traders in the mid-19th century, the small, sheltered anchorage sits near the entrance to Freshwater Bay. This area was important to fur traders and explorers because of its easily-accessed water supply. Pavlof Lake sits above a low waterfall, where a fish ladder has been built that salmon use to make their run upstream. High clouds hovered around the snow-capped peaks in the distance. 

After breakfast, we departed the vessel for our morning shore activities, which included hikes and kayaking.

Jul 26, 2014 National Geographic Sea Lion in Alaska

Jar Island and Vansittart, Kimberly

The sun rose this morning just as National Geographic Orion anchored off Jar Island. Excitement over our morning destination to see a style of rock art endemic to the Kimberly, called Gwion Gwion, or Bradshaw Art, was the talk around the breakfast tables.

Joseph Bradshaw was the first to record the art type that bears his name when he encountered these figures near the Roe River in 1891.

Jul 26, 2014 National Geographic Orion in Pacific Islands & Australia

Genovesa Island

It is the last day of our voyage in the Galapagos archipelago and we are still constantly amazed by the wildlife of this astonishing place. During the night we crossed the equatorial line, heading toward Genovesa (also known as Tower Island). This place is an ancient dormant volcano and its submerged caldera serves as an anchorage for ships visiting the Galapagos. 

This morning we awoke to an overwhelming number of seabirds leaving the island heading offshore to their fishing grounds.

Jul 26, 2014 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos


Remote Langanes, Iceland’s “long peninsula,” stabs northeastward in cold Icelandic waters toward the Norwegian Sea. This morning we cruise along the north shore of Langanes, looking for a safe Zodiac landing on the rocky shore. Rounding Fontur headland and lighthouse, we turn southwest toward Skálar and the ruins of a tiny fishing village. Residents abandoned this harsh and isolated region more than 50 years ago and only a few sheep graze here during the long Arctic days. The beach is too rocky for a landing, but Zodiac cruising is just right along these precipitous cliffs of layered basalt flows.

We follow the coastline and find a weather-beaten shore with boulders rounded by the crashing surf that eats away at the Iceland coast.

Jul 26, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Arctic

Zapote River & Supay Caño

At sunrise this morning we enter the small river known as Zapote. Gray river dolphins are feeding at the mouth as fish are jumping high into the air, some landing inside our boats!  We pass through the narrow entrance, and the stream is lined with egrets, much like channel markers. Adding into the color pattern are wood storks, jabirus, jacanas, and cocoi herons. Once we enter, a whole other world is revealed. The current drops away, and we slowly make our way, searching for wildlife. Some of us paddle by kayak, while others relax on the skiffs, coffee in hand.

Soon, we are spotting more wildlife.

Jul 26, 2014 Delfin II in Amazon

Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve

Green with shades of grey greeted our day in Glacier Bay as we woke to the National Geographic Sea Lion heading north into one of Alaska’s oldest national parks. Some of our fellow explorers were awakened at 3:00 a.m. to a 5.9 earthquake that was centered about 45 miles west of Gustavus. Reports from the night crew on the dock in Bartlett Cove, where we were waiting for our National Park Service naturalists to board, had the boat rocking and the dock clanking. But since the earthquake was side-to-side along a slip fault, there was no tsunami to worry about.

Our grey stayed steady most of the day, but it didn’t dampen the great wildlife we encountered.

Jul 25, 2014 National Geographic Sea Lion in Alaska

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Daily Expedition Report Information

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