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Bona & Iguana islands, Gulf of Panama

Coastal upwelling is one unique phenomenon in nature. Human settlements have relied on this event in order to establish the best fisheries in our planet.  Inside the Gulf of Panama the strong—almost permanent—trade winds blow across the low passage of the continental divide.  This wind will remove warm surface water, bringing nutrient-rich deep water. As a result, phytoplankton will receive large amounts of nutrients, beginning a food chain dynamic that provides a spectacular display of sea birds. We wanted today to have a full exploration day inside the Gulf of Panama. Read More>

Dec 22, 2014 National Geographic Sea Lion in Costa Rica & Panama

Bahia Agua Verde, Baja California Peninsula

As National Geographic Sea Bird approached the beautiful protected bay of Agua Verde (Green Water) on the Baja California Peninsula at dawn, the sky was highlighted in beautiful pastels. We anchored and used this bay to stage our operations for the day. On land and sea, there was plenty to do here; from snorkeling, to kayaking, hiking, and tide-pooling, we had many options from which to choose. Adventurous long hikers spent the entire morning trekking to a cave that harbors “paintings”—red ocher outlines of human hands—attesting to the ancient habitation on the peninsula. The hike up onto the San Pasquel Peninsula was worth the challenge for the panoramic views and some interesting birds, butterflies, and rock formations. Read More>

Dec 22, 2014 National Geographic Sea Bird in Baja California

Española Island

It was our first full day on board, and we are very excited about discovering this place, so we started early with a fun kayaking excursion around Gardner Islet. There were many sea turtles in the water that kept us paddling on their direction, but once we tried to get closer they just disappeared! The calm conditions and the beautiful aquamarine color of the ocean transported us to the marine world of the Galapagos. Snorkeling was also incredible, with crystal clear waters, cardinal fish and different varieties of tropical fish of different families, which are constantly looking for prey in these rich, nutrient waters that are responsible for the productivity of the place. Mocking birds, probably one of the most intelligent land birds on these islands, are very curious; they already know that we humans carry fresh water with us, so they come to greet us trying to get an easy drink!  A couple hundred sea lions, which looked like rocks from the distance, were lying on the beach, waiting for the sun to come out and warm them up so they could start getting into the water to cool down. Read More>

Dec 22, 2014 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

English Strait, Half Moon Island & Deception Island

This morning we had our first glimpse of a large iceberg at 4:30 a.m. One of the early bird guests spotted it as we continued to cruise south towards the South Shetland Islands. It was a bit foggy as we approached the outer islands, but just before lunch our Captain Oliver Kruess took us fairly close to Barrentos Island so we could see our first glimpse of the chinstrap penguin colony. Then we had the chance to see our first humpback whales. Read More>

Dec 22, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Antarctica

Floreana Island

On our third day of this expedition we reached the southernmost tip of the Galapagos, Floreana Island, also known as the island of mysteries. Some extraordinary events happened here in the 1930’s, where some of the inhabitants that had lived in harmony ended in death and tragedy under unclear circumstances.  An early wakeup call came so that we could enjoy the sunrise, followed by a moderately-paced walk on an easy trail through a brackish water lagoon full of different kinds of birds. Read More>

Dec 22, 2014 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Barro Colorado Island & and Panama Canal

Yesterday seems like a long time ago! We were so full of activities and excitement that it actually feels more like many days packed into one. After leaving the modern city of Panama, with all of its new skyscrapers on the Pacific coast, and traveling by bus across the narrow isthmus of Panama through lush-green vegetation, we arrived to the port of Colon on the Caribbean coast where National Geographic Sea Lion awaited for us. Then, once onboard our home for the next days, as we went through all of the mandatory introductions with crew, staff and the ship itself, we started to sail to the entrance of the Gatun Locks of the Panama Canal. We had a delicious dinner while we waited for another small ship to catch up with us before entering the first set of locks with it. Inside the canal it was impressive to see, under bright lights, a well-practiced coordinated operation. Read More>

Dec 21, 2014 National Geographic Sea Lion in Costa Rica & Panama

Isla San Francisco

Today being the winter solstice, and the shortest day of the year, every minute was a precious resource to be enjoyed to the fullest. From the moment the sun crested over the horizon, casting warm golden light onto the almost pink peaks of this dramatic landscape, there was no doubt that our expedition in Baja Sur had begun. Our morning found us anchored off Isla San Francisco in Half Moon Bay where the crescent-shaped beach stretches out over a mile in length and is flanked by two dramatic ridgelines that provide welcome protection from any winds that might disturb the morning’s activities. Read More>

Dec 21, 2014 National Geographic Sea Bird in Baja California

Drake Passage

The National Geographic Explorer crossed Drake Passage today with beautiful blue waves passing by. The sun shined the whole day during the summer solstice, the longest day of the year in the southern hemisphere. After lunch, guests assembled on the sundeck to get a lesson on photographing flying sea birds and viewing them through binoculars. Read More>

Dec 21, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Antarctica

Española Island

This was our first full day of our expedition in the Galapagos, and we spent the whole day at Española Island. This is one of the southern islands that is influenced by the south-eastern trade winds and therefore, it has a high percentage of endemic species that are only found here and nowhere else. In the morning, we had a chance to enjoy the wonders of the underwater world of the Galapagos. We left our ship and headed towards Gardner Islet, located in the center of a wide bay of turquoise waters and white sands. We snorkeled along the rocky shore of this islet, where we encountered abundant marine life. A few young sea lions made an appearance, to everyone’s delight, as it is a really unique experience to swim with these playful creatures! There were other options this morning as well, like the first chance to kayak in the bay, or to simply land at the beach and take a stroll amongst the sleepy Galapagos sea lions. It was rather pleasant to be able to share it with this very charismatic species, as well as being greeted and even followed by the ever curious and inquisitive endemic Española mockingbirds. In the afternoon we had to reposition in order to reach our next destination, Punta Suarez, located further east from Gardner Bay. Read More>

Dec 21, 2014 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

San Cristobal Island

The National Geographic Islander pulled up to an impressive, ragged and eroded volcanic formation called “tuff cone” just in time for the early morning light to accent the deep scars and ravines that have broken down this mountain over the last 300,000 years. Called “Punta Pitt”, it is the easternmost point of land in all the archipelago. It was the first land seen from the H.M. S. Beagle on their arrival in 1835, but also the first land seen by hundreds of sailors over the past centuries, men hungry for a sign of land after months at sea. It is a barren landscape, however. Read More>

Dec 20, 2014 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.