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Española Island

The Galapagos archipelago is a magical place where people from all over the world come to experience the wildlife that once inspired Darwin and his theory of natural selection. There are times in life when enjoying an early morning rise with the sun makes one content. Read More>

Aug 3, 2015 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

Tracy Arm

Today is the first day of our weeklong exploration of Southeast Alaska, and it has been a beautiful beginning indeed. We started the morning at William’s Cove in the entrance of Tracy Arm. We explored the area in kayaks around the bay, and also by hiking along a bear trail inside the forest. While we didn’t get any close encounters with bears, we did find signs of them all along the beach where they had been digging up the roots of many plants. After lunch, we made our way up the fjords of Tracy Arm admiring the beautiful vistas all the way. Read More>

Aug 3, 2015 National Geographic Sea Lion in Alaska

LeConte Bay & Petersburg

The southernmost tidewater glacier in North America is situated only a short distance from the fishing town of Petersburg. Although miles from our morning anchorage, the glacier’s presence was conspicuous due to immense icebergs, bergie bits, and growlers that clustered near the mouth of the fjord. Many stood firmly against the tidal current, grounded in the shallows where the glacier had deposited rocky rubble long ago. We scrambled into the expedition landing craft for a chance to get close-up views of these ice-blue sculptures. Frozen dragons, swans, and whales rose from the teal-blue water. Real-life seals, harbor porpoises, and tiny puffin relatives called marbled murrelets appeared as we maneuvered between the bergs. We climbed out of the boats onto shore to touch glacial ice stranded by the dropping tide. Seaweed blanketed the intertidal area, where we discovered whelks, sea stars, and other treasures before resuming our cruise and returning to the ship. Petersburg is a working town, not at all a gift-shop mecca for cruise ships travelers. Read More>

Aug 3, 2015 National Geographic Sea Bird in Alaska

Floreana Island

Floreana, also known as Charles Island or Santa Maria, is a peaceful island in the southern area of the Galapagos Archipelago. It is one of the four inhabited islands, and it was the first one to be officially inhabited by Ecuadorians, when Ecuador took possession of the islands in 1832. Only three years later, the famous naturalist Charles Darwin visited Floreana Island, and after him, many more visitors were part of a unique and bizarre human history: from marooned whalers to prisoners and colonists, and from a toothless dentist to a self-proclaimed empress. The island has many visitors sites, and one of them is Punta Cormorant, not named after the Galapagos flightless cormorants, as these endemic birds are not found in this location, but rather after a British Navy ship, the HMS Cormorant, that was launched in 1877 and assigned in 1886 to the Pacific Station (an area along the western coast of South America and extending to the Galápagos Islands and possibly beyond). Read More>

Aug 3, 2015 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Espanola Island

In the early morning, we dropped anchor at Gardner Bay, on the northern coast of Española. This is the oldest island of the archipelago, and a very interesting one. Gardner beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in the Galápagos; its fine white sands are the perfect spot for a colony of endemic sea lions, which we found sunbathing, sleeping or displaying their natural and unique curiosity towards us. Behind the beach, we were able to find other endemic creatures of Española, like the mockingbird and the lava lizard. This is a very serene place where one can commune with nature, and a stroll along this stunning beach was a must. Our more experienced snorkelers had a chance to explore the underwater world of the Galápagos at Gardner Islet, not far from the beach. Here they had close encounters with some playful Galápagos sea lions, as well as various species of local fish like the blue-chin parrotfish and the razor surgeonfish. In the afternoon, we changed anchorage and prepared for our visit to Punta Suárez. Read More>

Aug 2, 2015 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Pond Inlet & Eclipse Sound

As we headed into Pond Inlet a thick layer of fog blanketed the sea. Icebergs, although smaller than the ones we have been viewing over the past few days, still held us in fascination as they stood like sentinels along our pathway in the sea. Pond Inlet is a small hamlet located at the top of Baffin Island and although small from most standards, it is the largest of the four communities above the 72nd parallel. For us, the life of the Inuit people who live here is hard to imagine. A life where the ocean around them is free of ice for only about three and a half months of the year, where the winters are long and dark, and the summers are short and filled with light for all hours of the day. As different a life as the Inuit have from us now, it was even more so when the people here were nomadic, and life in the far north was even more distant from what we can imagine. Now, the Inuit are a people caught between a life completely interwoven with the natural world around them, and a standard of life that modern society feels is appropriate for all people to abide by, living in a mixed subsistence economy. Before any visit to the tiny hamlet would happen we would first need to clear Canadian Customs and Immigrations, and as one would imagine that clearing the entire capacity of guests, crew, and staff, as well as all of the provisions and equipment an operation such as National Geographic Explorer took some time. Read More>

Aug 2, 2015 National Geographic Explorer in Arctic

Inverie to Kyle of Lochalsh

Lord of the Glens set off from Inverie on calm seas, bound for our last stop at the Kyle of Lochalsh. The day brightened and the sun shone as manx shearwaters and gannets ushered the boat along the way. Midmorning, Catherine began a presentation of her photographs but was interrupted by the appearance of a large pod of bottlenose dolphins. Over 20 dolphins surrounded the ship, gracefully rising then diving as they fished for mackerel. Occasionally, two or three dolphins would slap the water with their tails, and the pod would shift direction. We speculated that the tail-slapping communicated the direction that the fish moved, allowing the dolphins to closely follow the school. The boat paused while we watched the dolphins with delight, standing outside under blue skies. The boat pushed against eight-knot currents as we approached the Kyle of Lochalsh, the sea constricted by the narrow strait at this point, making for strong tides. Read More>

Aug 2, 2015 Lord of the Glens in Scotland

Endicott Arm & Williams Cove

We woke up this morning in Endicott Arm. The sun was shining, the waters were calm, and the scenery was stunning. Before we could get to our morning briefings we were treated to a beautiful black bear sighting. We were thrilled to start our day watching the large bear forage along the rocky shore at low tide. As we continued to cruise deeper into the fjord, the impressive Dawes Glacier came into view. Read More>

Aug 2, 2015 National Geographic Sea Bird in Alaska

Supai Caño & Yarapa River

It was as if the Amazon was saving the best for our last full day. We all got on our skiffs without knowing it, but as usual we were hoping to find a lot of fauna and of course to enjoy the beauty of this area. It didn’t took us too long to get our first highlight of the day, a female three-toed sloth hanging upside down, we had seen sloth on this expedition, but no one expected to see a cute young baby climbing up and making himself completely visible, as if he wanted to say hello to all of us. Read More>

Aug 1, 2015 Delfin II in Amazon

Endicott Arm

Ice and glaciers have carved the landscape for most of our journey here in Southeast Alaska.   From Chatham Strait to Glacier Bay, our trip has followed the path of the ice that has created this landscape. Today, we spent the entire day in Endicott Arm which would not have been possible without the force of ice. Over time, the Dawes glacier has carved this incredible fjord and allowed us to penetrate deep into the wilderness and a world of intense beauty. Before breakfast, we crossed the bar, or terminal moraine, and entered the glacial landscape. Read More>

Aug 1, 2015 National Geographic Sea Lion in Alaska

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