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Casa Orquideas Garden & Rio Tigre, Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica

The long navigation from Panamanian waters into Costa Rica was as calm as sailing through a lake. National Geographic Sea Lion felt like cutting soft butter with a knife as we made or entrance into our port of call, Golfito, for customs, water, and other errands. Golfito (the town) means “small gulf” because it is actually within a very large Gulf, Golfo Dulce, a masterpiece of the tectonical forces, which sunk the center area of this oceanic crust to an average depth of 700 ft. These enclosed waters, the lush surrounding forest, and the deepness of this gulf makes it a unique arrange of marine and land ecosystems, and therefore our day is pack with all kind of activities, in order to explore the area as much as possible. After all formalities and stamped passports were done, we were officially welcome in the country and new adventures awaited us. Dock off from Golfito, short navigation ahead, calm blue oceans, and lush green forest with patches of yellow flower trees were the scenery for our morning outing. Read More>

Jan 21, 2015 National Geographic Sea Lion in Costa Rica & Panama

Magdalena Bay

The first light of the day found us sailing off the western coast of the peninsula of Baja California towards Magdalena Bay; shortly after sunrise the National Geographic Sea Bird was in front of Punta Tosca, which is the southernmost point of Santa Margarita island. Together with the peninsula and Cresciente, Santo Domingo, and Magdalena islands, Santa Margarita forms the huge Magdalena Bay, one of the main gray whale calving lagoons and the southernmost of them. But as we sailed in the open Pacific heading to the gap between Santa Margarita and Magdalena islands, known locally as La Entrada (‘the entrance”), we had the chance to enjoy once again the beauty and grace of humpback whales. Several individuals delighted us with such interesting displays such as tail and pectoral fin slapping and breaches as they possibly headed towards their own calving grounds off the southern tip of the peninsula. We eventually reached La Entrada and abandoned the open Pacific, entering Magdalena Bay; almost right away we spotted the first gray whales of our trip and learned firsthand the differences between them and the humpbacks that we got to know so well. Read More>

Jan 21, 2015 National Geographic Sea Bird in Baja California

Neko Habour

This morning we awoke in the stunning and still surroundings of Neko Habour. The strong winds that were buffeting the more exposed regions of the Peninsula were dampened here, the stately mountaintops and dusky snow clouds enveloping National Geographic Orion as we disembarked and jumped into the Zodiacs ready to be shuttled the short distance to shore.   A familiar welcome party of Gentoo penguins were on shore, strewn out along the narrow pebble beach and zipping through the shallow waters. Read More>

Jan 21, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Antarctica

Tonle Sap River, Kampong Chhnang, Cambodia

After an exciting night in the capital city of Phnom Penh, we awoke to a quiet dawn still alongside the dock in the heart of the city. Read More>

Jan 21, 2015 Jahan in Vietnam & Cambodia

Santa Cruz Island

Today we had the opportunity to learn about the human aspect of Galapagos at Santa Cruz Island, Puerto Ayora. This town is home to over twenty thousand people, most coming from different regions of mainland Ecuador and due to its central location, it is the tourist capital of Galapagos. This island is one of the most visited in this Archipelago because it is the home of the Charles Darwin Station and the Galapagos National Park, which leads one of the most important breeding programs for giant tortoises. Read More>

Jan 21, 2015 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

Elephant Island, Antarctica

This morning National Geographic Explorer furrowed the gun-metal grey waters of the Southern ocean as we headed for Elephant Island, a remote rocky bastion lying in the infamous Drake Passage. A member of the South Shetland Islands, it played a pivotal role in the survival, and eventual rescue, of the crew of the Endurance. The ship was commanded by Sir Earnest Shackleton on the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914-16. The brainchild of this charismatic and audacious Irish explorer, the expedition planned to traverse the Antarctic Continent, a distance of 1,800 miles, and map a great swath of uncharted land. The ship departed England only days after Britain had declared war on Germany and headed south. However Shackleton’s ambition was thwarted after the ship became trapped in ice in January 1915 in the Weddell Sea and eventually sank 10 months later, stranding all 28 crew thousands of miles from help. They lived on the moving ice floes for the following five months being carried further north. Read More>

Jan 21, 2015 National Geographic Explorer in Antarctica

Dragon Hill & El Eden

Today we navigated to the northwestern site of Santa Cruz Island, to a place known as Dragon Hill. We disembarked in the morning ready to explore and enjoy the beauty of the islands. As soon as we arrived we found a majestic landscape of contrasts: colorful vegetation along the shore versus the dry vegetation and cacti a little farther; white sand covering some black lava; red soil washed by dark blue waters of a brackish lagoon… and at the lagoon we found a pink flamingo surrounded by ducks and gulls! That was the beginning… We hiked to a higher area, with softer soil and more cacti, and there we started our search of the day: Galapagos land iguanas! In order to find them… we had to think like one of them! When the day is getting hotter, like it was today, these reptiles look for shade, and all the better if that shade is close to a prickly pear cactus which might let a fruit or two to fall. Read More>

Jan 21, 2015 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Granito de Oro and Damas Bay, Coiba Island National Park

The morning sunrise at Gulf of Chiriqui with orange and yellow hues was a perfect scenario to fully continue our exploration in the third largest marine park of the world: Coiba Island National Park. After a smooth navigation of more than 200 nautical miles from the Panama Canal and our adventures in the Gulf of Panama, we were all prepared to have a full day of water and cultural activities in Coiba. Read More>

Jan 20, 2015 National Geographic Sea Lion in Costa Rica & Panama

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

At dawn, we are moored where the mighty Mekong meets the Tonle Sap River before splitting into the main Mekong flow and the smaller Tonle Bassac. In front of us Phnom Penh is awakening. We raise the anchor and moor alongside the Jayavarman, the older sister of our ship. From there, we hop on pedal-powered cyclos, an ideal way to navigate the chaotic traffic and discover the city. We ride to the Post Office with its French colonial architecture then proceed to Wat Phnom, regarded as the place of foundation of the city, and the sacred hill that gave its name to the capital of Cambodia. Read More>

Jan 20, 2015 Jahan in Vietnam & Cambodia

Floreana Island

Floreana is the southernmost island in the Galapagos and is well known for the occurrence of mysterious events surrounding its early inhabitants.  One infamous story is that of a woman from Germany who came from Europe to live here with three lovers.  One day she and one lover disappeared without a trace and other inhabitants followed the same path of tragedy. Before breakfast we headed to the beach for a short hike across a greenish-brown sandy beach comprised of olivine crystal which is considered a semi-precious stone. Read More>

Jan 20, 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.