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Lastest Expedition Reports

Clarkston, Washington; Hells Canyon; Nez Perce National Historical Park

We woke to sunny skies as we anchored in Clarkston, Washington. The day would turn out to warm although the morning air was crisp and cool. Today, everyone loaded onto two jet boats to take an exciting journey up the Snake River into the amazing Hells Canyon. We saw great blue herons and western grebes along the shore as we sped away from the town. We eventually left behind the riverside cabins and ranches to enter the wild and deep canyon. Along the way we got a great look at Native American petroglyphs etched into basalt. Just as we were admiring the ancient artwork, we noticed a family of river otters playing in the water near our jet boat! What a joy to watch them wiggle and frolic. We made it to the part of the canyon where ancient terranes are exposed. Read More>

Oct 9, 2015 National Geographic Sea Lion in Pacific Northwest

Pegion Island and Rabaul, Papua New Guinea

On our final day of this voyage around the island of New Guinea, we woke up sailing between the eastern islands of New Britain and New Ireland.  Heinroth’s shearwaters and flying fish escorted us to a small group of islands, the Duke of York Islands.  Two tiny islands, the Pegion Islands, were our destination.   A fierce wind at first seemed daunting, but the captain found us a nice lee and we continued on as planned.   A few of us went for a bit of history and culture. Read More>

Oct 9, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Borneo & Indonesia

Clarkston, Washington & Hells Canyon

At 0615 hrs National Geographic Sea Bird is making its way upstream on the Snake River, bound for Clarkston, Washington. Mist rises on the river and a few low clouds lie in pale, wraith-like layers along the basalt cliffs that are just emerging in the growing dawn. Clarkston, located at the confluence of the Snake River and Clearwater Rivers, is just across the river from Lewiston, Idaho, and the farthest inland port on the West Coast, reachable by some ocean-going ships. After a hearty breakfast we board the jet boats Canyon Quest and Min Tara II for a Hells Canyon adventure. Read More>

Oct 8, 2015 National Geographic Sea Bird in Pacific Northwest

Cruising Snake & Palouse River

As morning approached, the National Geographic Sea Lion was greeted with a beautiful sunrise. The early risers, some joining the morning stretch class, or out on the bow with one of our naturalists sipping on morning coffee, got to enjoy the beautiful scenery. We continued our journey on the Snake River. The National Geographic Sea Lion made its way through not one but two locks before guests were served their lunch. The two locks were called Ice Harbor and the Lower Monumental Dam. Ice Harbor was named for a geographic area, a cove that the sternwheelers utilized to wait for the ice to break up. The vertical lift is one hundred feet and was completed in 1962. The Lower Monumental Dam is also one hundred feet and was named for Monumental Rock, which is a few miles upstream and was completed in 1969. As lunch time neared, the National Geographic Sea Lion anchored near the mouth of the Palouse River. Read More>

Oct 8, 2015 National Geographic Sea Lion in Pacific Northwest

Kuiyawa, Trobriand Islands (Papua New Guinea)

This morning the National Geographic Orion meandered cheerfully amidst the Trobriand Islands, made famous worldwide by the anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski when he dubbed them “The Islands of Love.”  His work illuminated the intriguing courtships of the islanders in this matrilineal society in which women at times aggressively pursued their male interests and the act of lovemaking was seen as unconnected to childbearing. Yet while the villagers of Kuiyawa’s notions of love may have changed somewhat through time, their greeting to visitors remains as lovely as ever with cheerful men, women, and children bearing colorful frangipani leis welcoming us warmly. Gathering in front of the school, the village presented us with a series of dances that were not only marvelous sights to behold but a fascinating demonstration of their mixed Melanesian and Polynesian heritage. Read More>

Oct 8, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Borneo & Indonesia

The Dalles, Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, Maryhill Museum

Despite the fact that our trip has now taken us into the “rain shadow” of the Cascades Range—where it should be dry compared to the lands west—we woke to cloudy skies and some rain sprinkles in The Dalles, Oregon. Nevertheless, our guests had positive attitudes about the weather. We all boarded motor coaches in the morning and rode along Oregon’s historic Highway 30 up to Rowena Crest, a natural plateau that affords sweeping views up and down the eastern end of the Columbia River Gorge. Back in the coaches, we were off for the Gorge Discovery Center. The Discovery Center is an excellent museum housed in a beautiful building overlooking the Columbia River. Read More>

Oct 7, 2015 National Geographic Sea Lion in Pacific Northwest

Fergusson Island and Dei Dei Hot Spring

As the National Geographic Orion sailed towards the D'Entrecasteaux Islands Group, we were surrounded by remarkable green mountainous islands. Located at the southeastern end of Papua New Guinea, some of these islands are remnants of magnificent but now extinct volcanoes. An interesting reminder that our expedition is travelling through geological features situated at the enthralling ring of fire or circum-Pacific belt, a direct result of plate tectonics and the movement and collisions of lithospheric plates. Another noteworthy element of this once-dynamic magmatic area is the active thermal springs and mud pools found at Fergusson Island. Boarding our Zodiacs, we navigated through a myriad of healthy coral reef systems and set to explore the remote Dei Dei village and surrounds. We were greeted by fierce warriors and friendly locals, had the opportunity to meet the local landowners, and after a brief introduction enjoyed a short walk took us to the spiritual but eerie hot springs and geysers landscape. Read More>

Oct 7, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Borneo & Indonesia

Snake & Palouse Rivers

Today we have arrived to the Snake River! At 6 A.M., under starlight and a waning crescent, we said adios to the Columbia River. We arrived to Ice Harbor Dam not long after, and moved through the giant guillotine gate before it came down behind us. We rose up quickly and were soon on our way again, 90 ft. higher than when we woke. We continue our journey sailing up, over the continent of North America. Wildlife was in rich supply today, especially after we reached the Palouse River. Read More>

Oct 7, 2015 National Geographic Sea Bird in Pacific Northwest

Isla Santa Clara, Ecuador, At Sea & entrance to Peru - Paita

Throughout the night we sailed south from Puerto López across the wide entrance to Guayaquil and made our approach to the island of Santa Clara. The island lies some 26 nautical miles west of Puerto Bolívar, on the mainland of Ecuador. The island was also known as Isla del Muerto as it looks from afar like a dead man. We all enjoy the leisurely start to the day, which we have been afforded by our expedition leader, with a later than usual wake up call, head off to breakfast, and a little later we board the Zodiacs and set off towards the island, which is some way off. Read More>

Oct 6, 2015 National Geographic Explorer in South American West Coast

Isabela & Fernandina Islands

The breeze was gentle and the ocean was calm as we were flanked on one side there by volcanoes.  We woke up navigating around the Island that resembles a sea horse, Isabela. Early in the morning some guests decided to join us on the sky deck to look for any kind of big, marine mammal and we had great success. Read More>

Oct 6, 2015 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

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