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Orangerie Bay, Samarai and Deka Deka Islands (Papua New Guinea)

Orangerie Bay is known as a gathering place during certain times of the year for whale sharks, the biggest fish in the sea.  As luck would have it, October is one of those times.  Although we kept a watch during our transit of the bay this morning, none was seen.  We did, however, spot numerous sea birds, schools of small fish, and several floating coconuts.  The rugged coastline and jagged islets off our port side, as well as occasional views of reefs on both sides of our vessel, showed us why these were considered very treacherous waters for sailing ships in the days before accurate charts were produced. We arrived at our anchorage midway between Samarai and Deka Deka Islands soon after lunch. Read More>

Oct 6, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Borneo & Indonesia

Astoria, Fort Clatsop, Cape Disappointment

Hard to imagine a better day than this!  As dawn broke, the National Geographic Sea Lion was at the mouth of the mighty Columbia beneath clear skies with magnificent vistas in every direction.  California sea lions lounged in languid repose on nearby buoy channel markers.  Blows from a humpback whale punctuated the morning air with a primordial beckoning, providing us with the first hint that this was going to be a most extraordinary day. After docking in the historic town of Astoria, the first American settlement on the Pacific coast, we traveled south to Fort Clatsop, headquarters of the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery during the winter of 1805-06. Read More>

Oct 5, 2015 National Geographic Sea Lion in Pacific Northwest

At Sea, Port Moresby

Steaming ahead through the turquoise waters of the Torres Strait on the National Geographic Orion, it seems hard to imagine that this shallow sea between Australia and New Guinea was once renowned by sailors as the “Strait of Terror.” For the vessels of the colonial era the four-meter swell we faced might well have meant a violent wreckage on the uncharted reefs and an untimely end for those aboard at the hands of the local residents. As naturalist and marine biologist, Cristiana Damiano explained in her morning talk, a healthy population of sharks, including a few species that wouldn’t mind snacking on some shipwreck victims, once teemed in these waters. But shark finning and overfishing have greatly reduced their numbers, and with growing recognition of the value of these top-predators, efforts like the Pristine Seas Project are now attempting to recover their populations. As we learned from Ben Cropp, far more dangerous to castaways in the strait were the local population of head hunters who came to particularly prize the skulls of white men travelling through the area.  Nowadays, guests and crew alike could confidently navigate these waters having learned a bit more about the mighty National Geographic Orion and her exquisite engineering in the morning Q & A session about the ship from the Captain, Chief Engineer, and crew leaders. Beating the challenging seas we arrived in Port Moresby in the early afternoon a few hours ahead of expectations to resupply and make contact with the immigration officials of Papua New Guinea. Read More>

Oct 5, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Borneo & Indonesia

Hood River, Oregon

At 0600 hours the dauntless National Geographic Sea Bird faces a strong headwind as she sails up the Columbia, the Great River of the West, on our way to Hood River, Oregon. In a beautifully clear early autumn sky a newly waning moon rides high in the east above bright Venus, the Morning Star. The Big Dipper stands low in the north and Orion, the Mighty Hunter, is high in the south. We are sailing into the spectacular Columbia Gorge and soon come to Cape Horn, a vertical wall of basaltic lava weathered into large rounded columns just above the river. Read More>

Oct 5, 2015 National Geographic Sea Bird in Pacific Northwest

Esmereldas & Crossing the Equator, Ecuador

After a frenetic first week of our trip a leisurely day at sea was welcome. Before breakfast was over we had cleared Ecuadorian customs, picked up a group of local musicians for an evening performance, and we were on our way to the Equator. While Kike Calvo gave a talk on his career as a photographer, involving his life and work in South America over several years, our guests reflected on their own photographic experiences in Panama and Colombia. In the late afternoon we approached the Equator. Read More>

Oct 4, 2015 National Geographic Explorer in South American West Coast

Astoria, Fort Clatsop & Cape Disappointment

This amazing day started with a gorgeous sunrise at the mouth of the river and the Pacific Ocean at the Columbia Bar. After stretching, bird watching from the bow, and waking up with delicious coffee beverages and breakfast, we all disembarked from National Geographic Sea Bird in Astoria, OR and motor-coached over to nearby Fort Clatsop Nation Park. A wondrous place not only full of history pertaining to the Lewis & Clark expedition, but also a stunning natural site full of temperate rain forest plants and animals. After this excursion we all grouped together at the Astoria Maritime Museum to learn of the unique and hazardous history of the Columbia Bar. Lunch was delightful back on board! The afternoon was full of more history and learning at the Lewis & Clark interpretive center across the bridge in the state of Washington near Cape Disappointment. Read More>

Oct 4, 2015 National Geographic Sea Bird in Pacific Northwest

At Sea, Torres Strait

We’re at sea, heading towards the Torres Strait aboard the National Geographic Orion. The sun is bright and the sea a gorgeous blue green. I decide to get some exercise by walking around the deck on level five. I have never been on an expedition ship before, only big luxury liners. Read More>

Oct 4, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Borneo & Indonesia

Gorgona Island

Thunders, lighting, and showers at dawn, preceded a wonderful, calm, and adventurous day. Gorgona Penal Colony in the morning was followed by a wonderful snorkelling and Zodiac day in a pristine coral reef and a “humpback whale festival. Read More>

Oct 3, 2015 National Geographic Explorer in South American West Coast

Astoria, Fort Clatsop and Cape Disappointment

Today was our last full day aboard the National Geographic Sea Lion and perhaps the most awe inspiring of our adventure filled week. We awoke at the Columbia Bar, and after yet another delicious breakfast we boarded buses for Fort Clatsop National Park where the Lewis and Clark Expedition spent the winter of 1805-06 before their final push back to St. Louis. We learned about their vote on where to locate the fort, what they did to occupy their time while staying there and how they managed to keep everyone happy, healthy and alive despite the gloomy conditions there. From Fort Clatsop we drove up to the Astoria column where the clear skies and gentle breeze afforded us a spectacular view of the Grey River, the Lewis and Clark River and the Pacific Ocean, truly a marvelous sight to behold. Read More>

Oct 3, 2015 National Geographic Sea Lion in Pacific Northwest

Genovesa Island

Today is the last day of expedition in the Galapagos Islands aboard the National Geographic Islander. The Island we visited was Genovesa or “Birds Island”, on the far northeast corner of the archipelago. This Island is home to hundreds of thousands of birds, and we had the chance to visit the best sites. Read More>

Oct 3, 2015 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

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Daily Expedition Report Information

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