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Santiago Island

We left behind the western Galapagos and we moved back to the east to visit Santiago, one of the largest and beautiful islands of the archipelago. Well known as “James” by ancient whalers and pirates, Santiago offers a great variety of places to be visited that can captivate and produce an inspiring experience.

Early in the morning we started our first activity, visiting Espumilla Beach, the dark sand of which is used by sea turtles for nesting.

Jul 30, 2014 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Glacier Bay National Park

It’s been an absolutely amazing day here in Glacier Bay National Park. Two visitors joined us aboard National Geographic Sea Lion today: Glacier Bay National Park ranger Heidi Herter and Alaska Native Voices interpreter Alice Haldane. Both were an outstanding wealth of knowledge and information, providing us with several programs and interesting commentary throughout the day.

Our first stop of the day was at South Marble Island – an excellent location for spotting seabirds and Steller’s sea lions.

Jul 30, 2014 National Geographic Sea Lion in Alaska

Lake Eva & Red Bluff Bay

Two logging humpback whales greeted us as we steamed towards Hanus Bay. After a hearty breakfast, and with the sun glistening off the calm waters, we made our way ashore at the Lake Eva trailhead. The tide was low and as we picked our way through the cockle shells, butter clams, and lonely sea stars that filled the intertidal zone; we found a young brown bear making his way along the shoreline. Once he was on his way, the various hiking groups set off to explore the beautiful forest along the Lake Eva trail. 

Our undersea specialist, Carlos, brought his dry suit and GoPro camera along to get some video footage of the fish in the river.

Jul 30, 2014 National Geographic Sea Bird in Alaska

Latrabjarg Cliffs and Flatey, Breidafjord, Iceland

Overnight, National Geographic Explorer headed northwards from Reykjavik to Breidafjordur, Iceland’s second largest bay. Thousands of small islands and skerries pepper its waters. To these shores the Norse came in the 9th and 10th centuries attracted by the rich food sources that were found here, including fish, seals, whales, seabirds and their eggs.

What a splendid vista presented itself at 8:00 a.

Jul 30, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Arctic

At sea to Australia

Our final day at sea before steaming for Darwin started early for a small but dedicated group of guests who braved an early start to catch the Zodiac from the National Geographic Orion across to Com, Timor Leste, to complete the technical stop for this journey. On the wharf at Com we were greeted by an enthusiastic group of local vendors selling some of the local textiles and souvenirs that this area is recognized for. Under torchlight the guests wandered between the stalls, looking for that special something to remind them of this brief visit to Timor Leste. Once formalities were completed, we were whisked back to the ship to steam back to Darwin.

To complement the busy days we spent exploring the amazing sights of the Kimberley, the expedition team packed this day with a variety of presentations and hands-on workshops to enhance the guests’ appreciation of the biodiversity and maritime history of this area and improve their photographic techniques to better capture the memories of their journey.

Jul 30, 2014 National Geographic Orion in Pacific Islands & Australia

Urbina Bay & Tagus Cove

Today we continue exploring the western realms of the Galapagos archipelago. We woke up with the impressive view of the beautiful volcanic coastline of Urbina Bay seen in the distance. Just after breakfast we disembarked on a black lava beach. After a wet landing we put on our best walking shoes to go for a hike.  

We visited one of the most interesting, at the geological level, visitor sites in Galapagos - Urbina Bay.

Jul 29, 2014 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Inian Islands & Fox Creek

This morning’s adventures started early as we pulled into Idaho Inlet on the north end of Chichagof Island looking for wildlife. Overnight the weather settled into dense fog, obscuring the shoreline and any chance of spotting wildlife. As we cruised back into Icy Strait, the fog lifted to expose the Inian Islands, the last spots of land before heading into the open Pacific Ocean.

We spent our morning exploring the coastline of the Inian Islands in our inflatable boats, watching one of nature’s finest spectacles; a feeding frenzy created by a massive 12-foot tidal flush through the narrow gaps of these islands.

Jul 29, 2014 National Geographic Sea Lion in Alaska

Glacier Bay National Park

We were lucky that rain didn’t drop through the overcast as the low guttural roars of northern sea lions announced our approach to South Marble Island. This bird island has black oystercatchers and pigeon guillemots along with nesting black-legged kittiwakes and glaucous-winged gulls, but the favorites are always tufted puffins. Puffins possess outrageously large and colorful bills that make them the most intriguing member of a family of seabirds named the Alcids. These are northern hemisphere counterparts of penguins, although all the living species retain the ability to fly. 

An exciting encounter unfolded as we entered Tidal Inlet.

Jul 29, 2014 National Geographic Sea Bird in Alaska

Punta Vicente Roca & Fernandina Island

We are almost at the beginning of our Galapagos Islands exploration. Along the way different landscapes and wildlife have been spotted by our guests. The island of Isabela was our next destination, and Lynn Fowler, our expedition leader, had an organized schedule for the morning in Punta Vicente Roca. The first activity consisted of a one hour Zodiac ride in search of the elusive flightless cormorant and the ocean sunfish. From the beginning to the end many were found quite far away of the shoreline. I decided to jump in with the underwater camera in a failed attempt to capture some short footage of them. 

After a short time we really had to push through the morning with so many things to see out there.

Jul 29, 2014 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

Crossing the Timor Sea

At last a day of rest! Well, not quite.

Perhaps a rest for the body, but not for the mind, for there was a series of stimulating lectures all throughout this day at sea.

Jul 29, 2014 National Geographic Orion in Pacific Islands & Australia

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

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Daily Expedition Report Information

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