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Española Island

A peaceful, colorful bay surrounded by small islets delighted us today. We arrived to the island of Española, whose English name is Hood Island, named after Viscount Samuel Hood. Espanola is located in the extreme southeast of the archipelago and is considered one of the oldest in the Galapagos. Our first outing took place in one of the most fascinating beaches, Gardner Bay, which is located on the northeast shores of Española. Read More>

Mar 1, 2015 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

At sea to South Georgia

As the National Geographic Explorer continued her push toward South Georgia, all onboard were pleasantly surprised and relieved by the smooth and gentle motion created by the following seas and wind. Early-risers who went to the bridge were treated to great views of a wide variety of Southern Ocean seabirds. By breakfast time we had seen eleven species, from the largest albatross to the smallest storm petrel, including the favorite of many bird enthusiasts, a most graceful aerialist, the Light-mantled Albatross. At 9:15 Dr. Read More>

Feb 27, 2015 National Geographic Explorer in Antarctica

San Cristobal Island

This morning I caught my first glimpse of San Cristobal Island as I walked into the sunrise lit library aboard the National Geographic Endeavour. The flat light just after sunrise painted dark voids in between the golden looking expanses of the highly eroded volcanic ash cone that reigns over the area at Pitt's Point. The red-footed boobies we came here to see didn't make us wait, as juveniles curiously flew almost within reach above our heads as we rode our zodiacs towards shore. Read More>

Feb 27, 2015 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Gulf of Panama: Bona, Otoque and Taboga Islands & the Panama Canal

This morning we accomplished our longest sail of the trip, departing from Coiba Island at noon to cover 190 nautical miles to finally reach the Gulf of Panama. This big gulf possess one of the richest upwellings in the region created by strong winds known as trade winds, the same winds that help Columbus across the Atlantic.  What happened is that the trade winds that usually bring humidity to the Caribbean coast get stronger at this time of year and managed to blow across the continental divide. Read More>

Feb 26, 2015 National Geographic Sea Lion in Costa Rica & Panama

Ensenada Grande and Isla San Francisco

We left the tip of Baja California yesterday afternoon and sailed north all the way to Espiritu Snto Island. There, we found protection from the swells and white cups, that had been building up from previous days of El Norte blowing hard down the Sea of Cortes. We set anchor early this morning in the calm bay of Ensenada Grande, where we had breakfast and set off for our morning operations. Some of us went rock and boulder hopping up the arroyo, to be rewarded with a beautiful view of the sea from the top of the cliff. Other guests wandered along the trail taking pictures of cactus and flowers, and learning more about the amazing desert vegetation of the island. Others chose to explore the world underwater and went snorkeling along the rocky shore on the side of the bay. Every one enjoyed the activities, and afterwards we came back on board for a well deserved lunch, while the National Geographic Sea Bird was sailing north to San Francisco Island.  The afternoon was spent on Isla San Francisco for some more fun activities -kayaking, snorkeling, and hiking to check out the tide pools. Read More>

Feb 26, 2015 National Geographic Sea Bird in Baja California

Gold Harbour and Cooper Bay, South Georgia

Early this morning, we sailed around the easternmost point of South Georgia and had to dodge and weave our way through icebergs. Most of these huge grounded bergs had come from a tabular berg known as B-17 that broke off an ice shelf in Antarctica nearly 15 years ago. A large piece of it drifted into this region last year and grounded on the shallow water off Cooper Island. It has since broken into numerous smaller bits, which are still quite huge compared to our ship, and these bits will eventually disintegrate and disappear. But, for the time being these tabular bergs are stuck here at South Georgia.    Our vessel continued around to the northern side of the island and just before sunrise, we anchored off Gold Harbour. Read More>

Feb 26, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Antarctica

Santiago Island

Today we started our day on the western side of Santiago Island. The morning was overcast and drizzling, but suddenly turned clear and bit by bit the sun appeared high in the sky. it typical weather for the rainy season in Galapagos. After an early 6:30 am wake-up call we landed at Espumilla beach.  A place covered with an interesting mix of volcanic ashes and tiny pieces of olivine where we spotted fresh tracks made by sea turtles and holes made by ghost crabs.  After crossing a button mangrove forest we hiked by a brackish water lagoon where we found Bahamas pintail ducks and whimbrels, which is a type of migratory birds that feeds on crustaceans and mollusks in the rich ooze of the lagoon.  Then we continued through an area covered by huge Palo Santos trees.  The soil was wet giving a very enjoyable smell. A couple of Galapagos hawks and mocking birds were spotted, then we went back to beach and back aboard the National Geographic Islander. it was a great experience. Also a group of avid photographers enjoyed the morning, learning about nature photography on the islands. They had the chance to take pictures of a flock of blue footed boobies diving like torpedoes in search of food. At the end of our visit our foot prints are left as part of the scenery on the sandy beach. Later in the morning we visited Buccaneer cove. Read More>

Feb 26, 2015 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

At Sea Headed for South Georgia

Today the guests aboard National Geographic Explorer will fall asleep to the gentle rocking that a ship at sea provides. We awoke to much the same tune, and will spend a full two days steaming towards South Georgia on a straight trajectory from Elephant Island. One of the most infallible and interesting forms of wildlife which present to a ship at sea are seabirds. These birds live for and with the sea, in a beautiful symbiosis between wildlife and habitat. Albatross are some of the most graceful and revered seabirds. Read More>

Feb 26, 2015 National Geographic Explorer in Antarctica

Santa Cruz Island

On the sixth day of the expedition, our program brought us to an island where we could enjoy the company of the tortoises all day long. Our morning began at the Darwin Station, and in the afternoon we were able to see this giants in their own natural habitat of the island. Santa Cruz is the second largest island in the archipelago, and on its south-eastern shore lies the largest town in the Galapagos, Puerto Ayora. Read More>

Feb 26, 2015 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Coiba National Park

After an unforgettable experience on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, where we enjoyed the wonders of the neotropical rainforest, we repositioned over 120 nautical miles to our first visit within Panamanian boundaries. We started by visiting Coiba Marine National Park, which is considered  the most pristine marine national park in Panama, and one of the most important areas of conservation on the Eastern Pacific.  Its importance and conservation efforts make it a cornerstone of the Central and South American Marine Corridor. Together with Cocos Island in Costa Rica, Malpelo in Colombia, and Galapagos in Ecuador, this area is extremely vital for the health of our marine ecology in Central America. Coiba National Park was established in the early 1990’s and because of its worldwide importance it was declared as a World Heritage Site, status that definitively makes all of Panama very proud and willing to help with its conservation. Read More>

Feb 25, 2015 National Geographic Sea Lion in Costa Rica & Panama

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

 


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