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Española Island

Today we anchored off the northern central coast of Española at Gardner Bay. An early kayaking outing was offered this morning.  The conditions were great, overcast, warm, and the sea was calm.  It was amazing to observe many young sea lions playing along the coastal area and sea birds, like brown pelicans, feeding. After breakfast our guests were briefed about our snorkeling procedures and were out-fitted. Once ready, we went to explore the underwater world under heavy rain! Nevertheless we enjoyed great snorkeling with large schools of Razor surgeon fish, king angelfish, Panamic sergeant majors and playful Galapagos sea lions!  Some guests opted to go to snorkeling off a beautiful white sandy beach, a great place to learn and practice. Read More>

Mar 31, 2015 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

San Marcos Island & Santa Rosalia

Our day today started in a grand way; after having sailed north all night long, the first lights of the morning found us sailing the waters south of San Marcos Island. Our mornings at sea are usually pretty interesting, but today it was something special. We saw a lot of different kinds of creatures, some flying around, some swimming or jumping, and a few just cruising slowly just under the surface, including birds, mammals, and fishes. Numerous Craveri’s murrelets, the most tropical members of the puffin family, were seen all around, the same as many species of storm petrels, shearwaters, boobies, and gulls. Read More>

Mar 30, 2015 National Geographic Sea Bird in Baja California

Maputo, Mozambique

After a spectacular two days of safari expedition, we enjoyed a comfortable morning at sea. The wild, sandy coastline of southern Mozambique glided past as National Geographic Orion made her way towards the Beira estuary, where we arrived just before lunch. The weather change from South Africa was dramatic—we left behind the refreshingly cool air of the Dolphin Coast, and were welcomed into the near-tropics.  As we sailed northward, we prepared to trade our South Africa safaris for the next chapter of our expedition: water sports!  We are approaching clear tropical waters, so snorkeling and diving will begin very soon. Read More>

Mar 30, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Southern Africa & the Indian Ocean

Santa Maria Island, Azores

Santa Maria, home to the smallest bird in Europe, Santa Maria Goldcrest (Regulus regulus sanctaemariae), was the first island to be discovered by the Portuguese, and its main town, Vila do Porto, the oldest village in the Azores, dating back to the 15th century. Welcomed by a local folklore music group, we started our day dancing the Azorean traditional songs. Read More>

Mar 30, 2015 National Geographic Explorer in Azores, Madeira & Beyond

Floreana Island

Today we visited Floreana Island, to follow in Charles Darwin’s footsteps. Before breakfast, we went ashore on Punta Cormorant, with a fascinating beach of olivine sand. Read More>

Mar 30, 2015 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Faial, Azores, Portugal

This morning the National Geographic Explorer arrived in the port of Horta, on the southern coast of Faial, one of the five islands that constitute the central area of the Azores. The people of these islands have had a long tradition of whale hunting and the original factory where these animals were processed has been transformed into a museum. Here local guides explained about the history of whaling and the various processes that were involved in the rendering of the carcases into oil. The building complex is still intact and includes much of the original equipment and adjacent slipway up which the dead whales were pulled in preparation for sectioning. Read More>

Mar 29, 2015 National Geographic Explorer in Azores, Madeira & Beyond

Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve

Ask any of the naturalists onboard what the highlight of this voyage must be and the answer should be obvious—our day in Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve. This reserve was established in 1895, which makes it the oldest game park in Africa. It is set in the heart of Zululand and covers nearly 100,000 ha (about 250,000 acres). Actually, it is composed of two sections—the northern part is known as Hluhluwe (pronounced Shloosh-lewy) and the southern component is known as Imfolozi (pronounced just as it is spelled). The park is characterized by hilly topography and very high species diversities of both birds and mammals, as well as a wide variety of invertebrates, reptiles, and plant life. It is known worldwide for the great efforts started in the 1980s to save the white rhinoceros from extinction. This project was very successful, and in spite of some setbacks in restocking other areas due to despicable poaching, the population here is quite healthy.   We got off to a very early start this morning from our hotels and lodges in St. Read More>

Mar 29, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Southern Africa & the Indian Ocean

Española Island

An ancient volcanic landmass, well known for its beauty and fascinating wildlife, was our host island today. Española is characterized by its high endemism, due to the fact that is over three million years old. This span of time has allowed the island to built up and establish a unique ecosystem that is only found in Española Island. The morning outing at Gardner bay amazed our guests. Read More>

Mar 29, 2015 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Isla San Jose

A beautiful sunrise and early wake-up call found us at Isla San Jose. Some of us ventured ashore before breakfast and were treated to the beautiful landscape under the changing morning light. After breakfast we had more time to explore the island—lizards darted underfoot, hummingbirds zipped through the air, and the soft curves of the sandstone cliffs lined our path along the arroyo. Jack Swenson started our afternoon with some tips about photographing dolphins and, as if on cue, the dolphins arrived to test our skills. Read More>

Mar 28, 2015 National Geographic Sea Bird in Baja California

iSimangaliso Wetland Park and Game Reserve, South Africa

We arrived early this morning off the deep water harbor of Richard’s Bay, only to have to wait several hours for the required pilot to board our vessel before we could berth alongside. No matter, we still were able to go ashore right on schedule. This is one of the largest harbors in Africa and dates back to the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879. Nowadays, it is the main export facility for mined ores and coal, as well as products from other industries such as the smelting of aluminum, or aluminium if you prefer, and the manufacture of synthetic fertilizers. For our purposes, however, Richard’s Bay was an ideal jumping off point to explore the wonderful natural history of Zululand. These next two days would prove to be our biggest adventure yet of the voyage as we dedicated our time to experiencing the famous megafauna of wild Africa.   Today, we explored the expansive iSimangaliso Wetland Park and Game Reserve. Read More>

Mar 28, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Southern Africa & the Indian Ocean

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