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Haida Gwaii

Today was our introduction to the wonders of Haida Gwaii. Overnight we were blessed with calm seas as we crossed Hecate Strait, and awoke as National Geographic Sea Lion approached Queen Charlotte City. After breakfast we trooped off the dock and onto waiting buses, which whisked us to the Haida Heritage Centre. The morning was foggy, turning cloudy and eventually sunny. Read More>

Sep 15, 2014 National Geographic Sea Lion in Alaska

SGang Gwaii

Morning of our second day in Haida Gwaii, and we are walking in SGang Gwaay Linagaay, a First Nations village site. This has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, a place of importance to humankind on a global scale. Giant cedar beams, fallen and moss-covered, mark the remains of longhouses. Memorial and mortuary poles, still standing as they have for 150 years, are slowly returning to the rain forest that birthed them. It is a place where people lived continuously for thousands of years, one culture, passing their knowledge of this place from generation to generation. To be traditionally Haida is to create art and use technology that is itself intimately connected to the land, derived from it, reflecting it. This is how humankind began: our ancestors lived on the land where their ancestors were born; they knew it intimately, they were of the land and given physical and spiritual sustenance from its abundance. Today, few of us know what it would be like to live in a place where your family has lived for scores of generations. Fortunately for us, we have Haida guides who can tell us about that, and more.  This is a place of wild nature too. Read More>

Sep 15, 2014 National Geographic Sea Bird in Alaska

Floreana Island

After a relatively short nighttime navigation, we dropped anchor at Floreana, south of the archipelago. The morning was cloudy and misty. It is the cool, dry season after all, and a drizzly day is not unusual for this time of the year. We left our ship to land ashore at the olivine beach of Punta Cormorant. Hidden behind the landing beach we found a large lagoon of shallow, brackish waters. A lagoon like this can be the habitat of various species of birds like the greater flamingo, of which we spotted a few in the distance. Other tall birds were in the area today, like the great egret and the great blue heron. Further along the path, the landscape was dry and beautiful, with the bare yet elegant ‘palo santo’ or incense trees, a dominant species of the dry zone of the Galapagos. At the end of the trail we found another beach of white sands; called ‘the flour beach.’ This is a favorite nesting site for the Eastern Pacific green sea turtles. As we walked the length of the beach we could spot several fresh turtle tracks of females that may have nested last night. Many migratory birds find plenty to eat along this beach, like the sanderlings, ruddy turnstones and semi-palmated plovers, which travel from more temperate areas of the world.  Later in the morning we navigated further west towards a small islet called Champion. Read More>

Sep 15, 2014 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Ithaca, Greece

This morning we found perfect winds off the east coast of the legendary island of Ithaca. The crew set the sails with light winds and before we knew it, the Zodiacs were going into the water. Some of us were barely awake when our expedition leader announced the “once in a lifetime” opportunity to go out in a Zodiac and round the Sea Cloud under sail. It was a magical experience, and a highlight of the voyage. Midday the Sea Cloud sailed into Vathy harbor—the capital of the island. Read More>

Sep 14, 2014 Sea Cloud in Mediterranean

Haida Gwaii

After a rock-and-roll night crossing Hecate Strait from Prince Rupert the legendary archipelago of Haida Gwaii appeared on the horizon. Excitement is in the air as talk over breakfast. Linda Tollas, a Haida interpreter, boards our ship as soon as we dock. We climbed on busses and drove a few miles east to the Haida Heritage Center. This magnificent building opened in 2007 and is an eloquent testament of the revival of a population that was decimated by at least 90% by smallpox; then the culture that was almost obliterated by alien religions and residential schools. We were met by Jason Alsop, who led us around the many totem poles outside the building and eloquently explained some of their fascinating carved features including how to tell a bear figure from a beaver, dog, fish, killer whale, sea monster, or mountain goat. Read More>

Sep 14, 2014 National Geographic Sea Bird in Alaska

Prince Rupert

Morning found the port of Prince Rupert shrouded in heavy fog. Sound and light disappeared quickly into absolute stillness. We left National Geographic Sea Lion and walked a short distance through the mist to the Museum of Northern British Columbia. The treasures of the Tsimshian we displayed and explained in context of the feast, or potlatch; the most important aspect of their culture. Immense bentwood boxes, sculpted spoons, and intricately woven dance regalia told of the accumulated wealth of chiefs. We were divided into tribes, and then elected chiefs of our own. Read More>

Sep 14, 2014 National Geographic Sea Lion in Alaska

Espanola Island

Espanola is the most southeasterly island of the archipelago. Geologically speaking it’s the oldest islands of all at close to five million years old. It stands not too high above ocean surface, and is one of the smallest too. From a distance it looks like a desert, and its vegetation remains grey and brown except for the months of February and March when the island collects it highest precipitation. It is this island where the National Geographic Endeavour planned its expedition today. Read More>

Sep 14, 2014 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Ucayali River, Supay & Puerto Miguel

What have you found to be the most amazing aspect of your voyage in the Amazon Basin? Is it the vibrant colors worn by the avian residents? How can it be so difficult to find a scarlet red macaw in a leafy green tree? Or a plum-throated cotinga that looks like it flew right out of a Crayola crayon box? Find them we did and many other splendidly colorful and interesting feathered creatures. What is it like to swim in a black water lake where you cannot see down to your toes? And do you keep all your toes? There are piranha in the lake, and a few caiman as well, not to worry; we came out with all digits intact.   There are mammals we have added to our lists of sightings that we may never knew existed, now we have seen the secretive Amazon brush tailed tree rat, along with three-toed sloths, a river otter, gray dolphins and pink dolphins. Read More>

Sep 13, 2014 Delfin II in Amazon

Sarande, Albania

The Greek Island of Corfu dominated our morning view as Sea Cloud made her approach to the southern Albanian port of Sarande. Today we would see a very different side of Albania, with a focus on its early Illyrian and Greco-Roman significance. A look at a map reveals that Albania is the closest point to the boot of Italy, and it was much easier for Romans and later Byzantine Christians and Ottoman traders from Constantinople to cross here over the Adriatic than to struggle up the rugged and mountainous Balkan Peninsula to Venice. Our morning destination was the archaeological site of Butrint, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site and an Albanian National Park. Read More>

Sep 13, 2014 Sea Cloud in Mediterranean

Misty Fjords

An hour before dawn National Geographic Sea Lion was heading north in Behm Canal. The eastern sky was beginning to show signs of pink and early morning sunlight began to touch the tops of the mountains on the western side of the canal.  We were on approach to our first stop of the morning: a volcanic plug dead center in the northern reaches of Behm Canal. New Eddy Stone Rock, a 230-foot-tall rock formation, was named in 1793 by Captain Vancouver because of its resemblance to a lighthouse rock off of Plymouth England. Captain Sinclair was at the helm and humored the photo staff on the bow by making a long, slow complete circle around New Eddy Stone Rock. Read More>

Sep 13, 2014 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.