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South Plaza & Santa Fe Islands

South Plaza is located on the eastern coast of the larger neighbouring island, Santa Cruz. It is the result of a geological uplift that probably took place over a million years ago. As a consequence, there are no craters or volcanic cones here, but rather a flat surface and higher cliffs, perfect nesting sites for swallow-tailed gulls, red-billed tropicbirds, and Galápagos shearwaters, while frigatebirds soar overhead, always on the lookout for feeding opportunities. South Plaza Island is also home to one of the archipelago’s largest colonies of Galápagos sea lions and to one of three species of the endemic Galápagos land iguanas.    On some islands land iguanas have been almost wiped out by feral dogs in the past; however, a hugely successful captive and semi-captive breeding program run by the Charles Darwin Research Center and Galápagos National Park has allowed these endangered populations to recover. Read More>

Oct 16, 2014 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

Bartolomé & Sombrero Chino

For the early morning we begin with a walk on the island of Bartolomé. The island was named after an officer of the Beagle, the ship that navigated to the islands in 1835 with the famous naturalist Charles Darwin on board. It’s a small Island located at the eastern coast of one of largest islands in the archipelago, Santiago. An example of the recent lava flows in the archipelago, this small volcanic formation enhanced the picture of the islands as it looked like a piece of rock in the middle of the ocean as it formed.  The walk is great to learn about pioneer plants, volcanic features, and fascinating landscaping. When the adventure finished on the island the explorers walked to the landing site of the island to catch the Zodiac and ride back to the ship for breakfast. Later we began an aquatic adventure on the same island. Read More>

Oct 16, 2014 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

At Sea Off Central Brazil

Days at sea allow one to catch up on life and reflect on where one is and what one has recently done. On the National Geographic Explorer it is also a time to learn. Everyone aboard has come to not only experience a particular piece of our world but also to be enlightened about various aspects of a location different from where we live. The day was filled with activities to educate and enlighten us about the region we are visiting. Read More>

Oct 15, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in South American East Coast

Astoria, Oregon

“Great  joy in camp   we are in View of the Ocian, this great Pacific Octean which we been So long anxious to See….” William Clark spoke these words as the Expedition reached Pillar Rock on Nov. 7th, 1805, just 25 miles from their final westward destination, the Pacific Ocean. The more popular phrase from Clark is “Ocian in view! O! the joy!”  We felt the same joy as we approached Astoria, Oregon as we have followed the Corps of Discovery from the Clearwater and Snake River confluence, down the Snake River (Lewis’ River) 140 miles to the Columbia River, and then another 325 miles to where the Continent ends. Read More>

Oct 15, 2014 National Geographic Sea Bird in Pacific Northwest

Santa Cruz Island

Santa Cruz Island is known to have the second largest population of Galapagos giant tortoises and the main breading center. The visit to the Charles Darwin Station, where we got to see some of the young tortoises that have been bred in captivity was particularly interesting because as we walked among the tortoises we got to learn how humans can restore ecosystems that have previously been impacted by us. Today we learned that the Galapagos National Park Service and the Charles Darwin Foundation are within the two most well-known conservation institutions of the planet, because by saving the giant tortoises from extinction they have basically saved most reptiles. The walk along the main street of Puerto Ayora was interesting too, especially the fish market where a group of pelicans and a sea lion gathered around the fresh fish wanting to get an easy meal!  After lunch we boarded the buses and traveled to a farm known to be on the migratory route of these beautiful gentle giants and saw the area where they spend a good part of their long lives. Read More>

Oct 15, 2014 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

Santa Cruz Island

After spending the whole day yesterday in Puerto Ayora which is in the southern part of Santa Cruz Island, today we spent the entire day in the northern part of the same island. No one could believe it; we were actually still on the same island but in a very different location and away from civilization. Read More>

Oct 15, 2014 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

At Sea, Underway to Rio

Today we enjoyed a relaxed day at sea after our very active days in Salvador and Ilheus. It provided us a chance to catch up on our photographs and to hear some very interesting presentations from some of the experts on board. As we sailed along the coast of Brazil we enjoyed seeing masked boobies diving after flying fish, which take off as the ship passes. Read More>

Oct 14, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in South American East Coast

Hood River and Multnomah Falls

There is a familiar snap in the air that we wait so patiently for all summer long.  It is officially Fall, and exploring the wine and fruit growing regions of the Hood River Valley is a delight to the senses.  From the brilliant splashes of color along the roadsides of the big leaf maples to the tasteful explosions of sweetness from biting into a fresh picked apple, we quickly approached sensory overload. This morning we visited a local farm nestled in the Hood River Valley. Read More>

Oct 14, 2014 National Geographic Sea Bird in Pacific Northwest

Floreana Island

When you visit Floreana Island you are traveling in time… While walking along the shores of the island you can imagine the first visitors, walking among the dry vegetation, looking for giant tortoises and some fresh water. Buccaneers, pirates, adventurers and other characters stopped by Galapagos in the 1700s and 1800s. These visitors stopped, especially on Floreana, because of its well hidden treasure: fresh water.  You can imagine the first inhabitant of the islands: the Irish sailor Patrick Watkins, trying to survive in this hostile environment. Read More>

Oct 14, 2014 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

Santa Cruz Island

After spending several days isolated from reality, it is hard to imagine there can be a town in the Galapagos Islands. But indeed, there are a few, and Puerto Ayora is the largest. In the twenty two years I have been in this archipelago I have seen it growing from a village of 4,000 inhabitants to a busy place of at least 20,000. There are pick-up trucks, bicycles, and motorbikes, three and four-floor buildings, a couple of banks. But still, one gets to the sidewalk along the ocean, or to the fishermen’s dock, or just by the way people walk and talk and behave, and one knows that this is still a unique part of the world, touched by the magic of Mother Nature. Sea lions sleep among the busy market, enjoying long siestas after a free fish feast provided by the fishermen. Read More>

Oct 14, 2014 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

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