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The Inside Passage of British Columbia

During the night we crossed back across Hecate Strait, outrunning an approaching storm, back into the tranquil waters of the Inside Passage. Morning found us along the edge of Gribble Island, banked in layers of fog and the occasional squall of rain. We passed a pair of swimming deer, making their way slowly across the mile of water to the next island. Through the growing wind and mist we continued south, searching the coastline for wildlife. Read More>

Sep 18, 2014 National Geographic Sea Lion in Alaska

Alert Bay, British Columbia

I am cheating a little here because my Daily Expedition Report really starts last night after dinner. Last night in the still dark night air a small band of us gathered on sundeck to practice making images in low-light situations. The idea was to prepare us for photographing the incredible dancers of the Namgis tribe in Alert Bay. The T’sasala Cultural Group would be performing in a traditional big house and the light would be filtering in from a large vent in the center of the building. It was a great time complete with music and dance models to help us get ready for today’s activities. It was nice to have the time to laugh at our antics because today’s experience given to us by the T’sasala Group was nothing to laugh about; it was quite moving and inspirational. Before the dancers however we visited the U’Mista Cultural Center. Read More>

Sep 18, 2014 National Geographic Sea Bird in Alaska

Bartolome & Sombrero Chino Islands

Even though we are now in the middle of the cool, dry season, we have been enjoying some magnificent weather this week! Today we got a sunny day and took advantage! We woke up and left to climb the summit of the old parasitic volcano that forms Bartolomé Island.  At 6:30 a. Read More>

Sep 18, 2014 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Old Massett, Haida Gwaii

Today was one of those days that blow your socks off! It was a day steeped in Haida culture, from start to finish. After an early breakfast we hit the road by school bus, heading north from the Queen Charlotte City dock. The drive across the island was beautiful, with low clouds, intermittent rain and sun, a rugged coastline, and thick forest. After passing through a couple small communities, we arrived in Old Massett. We had amazing opportunities to experience firsthand the mastery and artwork of Haida totems. Read More>

Sep 17, 2014 National Geographic Sea Lion in Alaska

British Columbia’s Inside Passage

The forests draped in misty low clouds that cover the vast fjord lands of coastal British Columbia are wondrous and mesmerizing. As we cruise through narrow waterways and around innumerable islands, it is enjoyable to imagine the great cedar canoes near the edges of the land, paddles dipping into the deep green ovoid reflections. For thousands of years, the people of the Northwest coast have made long seafaring journeys to feast and to trade, to celebrate births and mourn the passing of elders. Watching from the bow of the National Geographic Sea Bird and contemplating the Great Bear Rain Forest passing by us, I am grateful for the descendants of the people of the salmon and the sea, the new generations embracing the traditions of their ancestors and bringing them into a new light. Early settlers left evidence of their presence here as well. Read More>

Sep 17, 2014 National Geographic Sea Bird in Alaska

St John’s, Newfoundland

The sea approach to St John’s is a spectacular one, a protected deep-water harbor, almost concealed from view, entered through a narrow channel. Once inside, vistas of the charming provincial capital open up; colorful plank-board houses bedecked with flowers rising up the steep hillsides, looking east to the early morning sun rising over the Atlantic Ocean. It is entirely appropriate that St John’s should face the ocean in this way for its history and that of the province have, as we have discovered, revolved around fishing in general and codfish in particular. The soils of Newfoundland are largely unsuited for agricultural production and the climate is harsh.   The story of the fishery was well told in the impressive cultural facility known as The Rooms, with a bilingual exhibit in English and Gaelic. Read More>

Sep 17, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Canada

Cerro Dragon & Daphne Major Islet

After spending the previous whole day in the southern part of Santa Cruz Island, today we had a chance to spend the whole day on the northern side of the same Island. Even though it is the same volcano, the ecological condition is very different from one side to the other. This natural phenomenon occurs because the prevailing winds come from the southeast, bringing all the moisture from the Pacific Ocean, which is trapped in the south slope of the island. Meanwhile, the northern side receives very little precipitation. This applies to the entire archipelago.  The Galapagos flora and fauna have adapted to surviving under harsh conditions. Read More>

Sep 17, 2014 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

SGang Gwaay (Ninstints), Anthony Island

As you step onto the shore of SGang Gwaay, you are instantly transported to another world, another time. The forest is alive with light and color. The only sound that can be heard is the call of ravens in the canopy above. Below, spruce and cedar roots elegantly curve around giant rocks; mosses and lichens blanket the ground and fallen trees, the forest’s method of reclaiming itself in that beautiful and never-ending cycle of life.  This is no ordinary forest. Read More>

Sep 16, 2014 National Geographic Sea Lion in Alaska

At Sea

Waking up in the morning I realized that the winds had picked up. At last Zeus was favoring us with strong winds for excellent sailing from the Ionian Sea approaching the Aegean. We could see Kythera as we sailed along the southern coastline of the Peloponnesus. Antikythera was slightly visible straight ahead. Another Greek island that became famous in the beginning of the 20th century when sponge divers discovered a roman shipwreck carrying Hellenistic cargo consisting of works of art from the Greek isles and Ionia. Amongst the exquisite statues and glassware the archaeologist found an incredible device used to study the planets and organize the “calendar” of the major ancient Greek festivals, for example the Olympics that we studied yesterday in Olympia. The device is called “the Antikythera Mechanism” (the great world for machine). After breakfast some of us visited the engine room in order to discover the mysteries of the Sea Cloud, and then after a short lecture on the history of Modern Greece and its eternal influence on maritime evolution throughout the Greek past we—Greek guides travelling on board—tried to offer our personal viewpoints on what is happening to Greece today. Read More>

Sep 16, 2014 Sea Cloud in Mediterranean

Old Massett, Haida Gwaii

With an early start, our guests boarded buses en route to the village of Old Massett. After the previous days exploration of the Haida Cultural Center and ancient burial grounds of SGang Gwaay, few things could round out the experience more than an intimate interaction with the Haida people. Beginning with a tour lead by Chief Christian White, we were treated to an in-depth explanation of the totem poles that stood mightily outside of the long house, which he and the community erected. The poles were carved by his hand in honor of his ancestors. An even rarer invitation followed, as we were brought into his work shed where projects in progress lay before the guests to witness, ask the details of, and experience both with sight and rich smell of the cedar aroma that filled the room.   The next portion of our day continued to uphold expectations. Read More>

Sep 16, 2014 National Geographic Sea Bird in Alaska

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