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Punta Vicente Roca and Punta Espinoza - Fernandina Island

One of the great privileges of travelling with the National Geographic Islander is that we visit places where nature remains untouched, such as Fernandina Island. We started our day by crossing the equator and celebrated with a symbolic ceremony up on the bridge. After celebrating this exciting occasion, our first destination was Punta Vicente Roca. Here we were surrounded by a magnificent landscape which reflected the intimate interconnection between ecology and geology. We discovered how ancient geologic processes molded the landscape that attracts thousands of visitors to the Galapagos every year. Particularly interesting features included large dikes. These dikes were formed by the intrusion of liquid magma that ascended through conduits in previous existing basalt and then solidified when they didn’t reach the surface, forming continuous body of rocks. Within such a unique geological theater, we spotted various groups of large marine iguanas which appeared as old witnesses of the powerful dynamics of volcanism on this island. We also found a feeding flock of birds including blue footed boobies and Nazca boobies, brown noddies, brown pelicans and storm petrels. Seabird feeding flocks are temporary associations in which individuals congregate to feed. Although we did not observe a large amount of individuals, we were able to distinguish a wide diversity of species in the same area.  Later on, the snorkeling outing was an amazing opportunity to swim with the Galapagos penguins. Pacific sea turtles also joined us in this amazing underwater experience. We then came back to enjoy a tasty variety of options for lunch. In the afternoon we moved to Fernandina Island, the most isolated and pristine wildlife sanctuary of the archipelago. Read More>

May 3, 2016 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

Ciudadela & Mahon, Menorca, Spain

Our day started in Ciudadela, at the very northwest part of Menorca. The day was planned to be filled with lost cultures (the Talaiots), incredible landscapes, and hidden coves. After dividing guests into three groups, depending on their cultural and environmental interests, we set out. Read More>

May 3, 2016 National Geographic Orion in Europe aboard NG Orion

Cruising Johnstone Straight and Alert Bay

Skies remained clear, gliding from star-filled to a soft, pink then the bright yellow of a spectacular sunrise.  The National Geographic Sea Bird was cruising in the Broughton Archipelago in Johnstone Straight. The coastal range on the mainland of British Columbia was silhouetted in sunrise light, while to the west, the mountains of Vancouver Island were bright with morning light. In very calm conditions we made our way deeper into a network of islands heading for our morning destination of Village Island.  Staff remained on the bow looking for wildlife while many of us relaxed on the sunny decks of the National Geographic Sea Bird. Soon an announcement from the bow was made: dolphins near the ship!  Everyone made their way to the bow as a small group of Pacific white sided dolphins cruised in to see what and who was making all the noise.  Cruising along side and then under the National Geographic Sea Bird, this group continued to play on the edge of our wake and then turn heading away.   A short distance ahead our ship made a slow 90 degree turn at approximately 8:30am positioning us straight towards an opening facing a beach that for generations was a landing site for canoes that would visit this well-known island. Read More>

May 2, 2016 National Geographic Sea Bird in Alaska

Bartolomé and Rabida islands

The sun was shining and the sky was blue when we awoke early this morning, ready for our next adventure. We were at Bartolomé Island, a dramatic landscape covered with spatter cones, cinder cones, small lava tubes, and a very inhospitable environment. Geologist Charles Darwin, who was the most famous visitor that came to Galapagos in 1835, described this type of scenery as “a place where life began and the first inhabitant appeared on earth” We walked to the summit of a parasitic volcano, and along the way we saw several reptiles, including lava lizards and some iguanas basking on the black lava rocks. Read More>

May 2, 2016 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

Ciutadella Menorca, Spain

We started our first day of the voyage cruising along the Balearic Island cliffs of Mallorca while heading towards Menorca. Brad Robertson gave us an inspiring presentation about the ONDINE Association research, conservation and education program efforts on marine protected areas. Raising awareness to many important issues we face nowadays including plastic use and pollution. The afternoon was spent walking around Ciutadella, historic quarter surrounded by medieval streets filled with palaces, churches and fortresses. Read More>

May 2, 2016 National Geographic Orion in Europe aboard NG Orion

Nanaimo

It was a treat to awake on our first morning aboard the National Geographic Sea Lion to a clear blue sky and sunshine. We sailed the San Juan Islands through the night and docked in Nanaimo to pass through customs shortly after breakfast-hello, Canada! It was nice to stretch our legs in the warm weather walking the Nanaimo dock, some guests even spotted otters. As the ship was under way late morning/early afternoon, we were busy engaging in photo talks and workshops with onboard National Geographic photographer, Krista Rossow, and the rest of the photo team. Read More>

May 2, 2016 National Geographic Sea Lion in Alaska

Nanaimo and Georgia Strait

Our journey north has started.  With much anticipation and even more sunshine we arrived this morning to the city of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island.  We took care of the logistics of customs and immigration and took the opportunity to get a little leg stretch in on the dock.  There was also the opportunity to practice the tossing of the monkey fist, which rapidly became a spectator sport.  Plentiful supplies of the infamous Nanaimo bars were also stocked by our hotel department.     The waters we are navigating have a deep, rich history. Read More>

May 1, 2016 National Geographic Sea Bird in Alaska

Genovesa Island

Genovesa was a magical experience for a final day in the Galapagos Islands.  Kayaking along the cliff side was the best way to begin our journey as we witnessed several species of seabirds flying above us.  Red-billed tropicbirds, swallow-tailed gulls, great frigate birds, and Nazca boobies were among the main attractions we had during kayaking activity.  As soon as breakfast was over, Darwin bay offered us a variety of experiences during the morning hike. Read More>

Apr 30, 2016 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

Valencia

Valencia is Spain's third largest city and it blends the charm of Gothic cathedrals, quaint horchata cafés and bustling old-school markets with striking modern architecture and an innovative spirit. The latter is embodied by Santiago Calatrava's striking City of Arts and Sciences, a futuristic ode to creativity in humanities and scientific endeavors that rose majestically like a giant lyre over the surrounding buildings as the National Geographic Orion pulled into the harbor. It was a well–rounded penultimate day on our Lisbon to Barcelona adventure, one that blended nature, architecture, local culture and food. Read More>

Apr 30, 2016 National Geographic Orion in Europe aboard NG Orion

Cartagena

Wind was constant, intense and uncomfortable early on the morning when National Geographic Orion approached the Gulf of Mazarron. On the shoreline, people in the coastal villages were already hurrying towards the greenhouses populating the gentle slopes of the Morenas Mountain Range for a new busy day farming the vegetables and fruits that most Europeans will eat in the following days. At sea, National Geographic Orion slowed down to 6 knots to follow the bending edge of the continental platform at the Mazarron escarpment, a dramatic underwater cliff-like structure diving 1.5 miles into the Algero-Balearic abyssal plain. There, we expected to watch the large sea mammals that followed Mazarron escarpment on their migratory routes along the Southern Spanish coast. Unfortunately, the rough conditions of the sea prevented any cetacean sighting. Nevertheless, we were fortunate enough to observe the dorsal fin of a lazy sunfish (Mola mola) emerging from the water, drifting with the rolling waves. Next we enjoyed Madalena’s spicy conference on the products brought to Europe by the Age of Discoveries. Read More>

Apr 29, 2016 National Geographic Orion in Europe aboard NG Orion

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

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

 

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