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North Seymour and Rábida Islands

Today we landed on North Seymour Island, an island that is well known for the many colonies of seabirds that nest here all year long. As we began walking on the volcanic terrain, we quickly spotted swallow tailed gulls nesting, Galapagos land iguanas feeding on vegetation, and blue-footed boobies in their courtship rituals. Along the coast, we also observed groups of male magnificent and great frigatebirds with their red gular pouches inflated, trying to attract females. Read More>

May 3, 2015 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Genovesa Island

While we entered the collapsed caldera of Genovesa island, we were overwhelmed by birds heading to their fishing grounds.  This gave us a great idea of what was waiting for us.   The early risers enjoyed this wonderful and challenging approach to Darwin bay, while the rest were preparing for their first outing of the morning. Read More>

May 2, 2015 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

Hanifaru Bay, Baa Atol, Maldives

This morning before dawn we arrived at Baa Atoll, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve and one of the premiere snorkel and dive locations in the Maldives. The scout boat left at dawn and reported back remarkable underwater conditions on the outer edge of the reef. After breakfast we boarded the Zodiacs and transferred out to the snorkel platform for our morning snorkeling activities. After donning our snorkel gear we slipped below the waves to be greeted by the huge biodiversity of marine life and colorful corals. We swam with an assortment of different butterfly fish darting in amongst the coral heads and when we looked off into the deep blue from the edge of the reef we were astounded by the thousands of fish that were swimming in the water column feeding on tiny organisms too small for us to see. Read More>

May 2, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Southern Africa & the Indian Ocean

Genovesa Island

Our visit to Genovesa Island today could not have been better, and what a great way to finish our week of exploration in Galapagos. This volcanic island is located above the equator line, in the northern hemisphere. This oceanic island is the home of hundreds of thousands of sea birds of many different kinds, such us red-footed boobies, frigate birds, swallow-tailed gulls, Nazca boobies, pelicans, noddy terns, finches and the elusive short-eared owl. Read More>

May 1, 2015 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Harlingen, Netherlands

Today we began our exploration of the Netherlands. We started the day by entering the Wadden Sea, a large, very shallow inland sea that separates the Frisian Islands from the mainland of the Netherlands. The Wadden Sea is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and we were able to observe large numbers of birds, most of whom were participating in the annual northward migration from their wintering grounds in West Africa, or, in some cases, sub-Saharan Africa, to their rich breeding grounds in the sub- or high Arctic. Additionally we saw large groups of harbor seals hauled out on the sandbars. The harbor seal is the signature animal of the Wadden Sea. Among the harbor seals were a number of the very large gray seals warming themselves and resting on the sand bars. In the late morning National Geographic Explorer went alongside in the small harbor of Harlingen.   Harlingen had never before been visited by a cruise ship or expedition ship until we docked there last year with National Geographic Explorer. Read More>

May 1, 2015 National Geographic Explorer in Holland & Belgium

Chinese hat and Sullivan Bay

Before breakfast we started our day with a Zodiac ride along the Coast of Santiago Island. The coastline has a large black lava flow that occurred 117 years ago. During our Zodiac adventure we spotted striated herons, sea lions and Galapagos penguins fishing and basking on the lava fields. One of the striated herons was very friendly and landed on our Zodiac allowing us to take great photos.  After a while the same heron took a tour and landed on the second and third Zodiacs, too!  It provided an amazing morning show for our guests.  The Galapagos penguin is the only penguin found in the northern hemisphere, over the equator line and it’s also the third smallest penguin in the world. Read More>

May 1, 2015 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

South Ari Atoll, Maldives

Today was a day that many of us were looking forward to for the entire trip.  We were hoping to have the opportunity to not only see, but snorkel with the largest of all fishes, the whale shark.  Reaching sixty feet in length, these “gentle giants” are amongst the most beautiful creatures in the world.   Ari Atoll is one of the places in the world with the best chances of encountering whale sharks, and this was our goal for the day. Shortly after breakfast, scout boats were dropped and off we went to search for whale sharks along the reef edge. Read More>

May 1, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Southern Africa & the Indian Ocean

South Plazas and Santa Fe Islands

Land of dragons, South Plazas and Santa Fe islands gave us a unique and inspiring day full of unforgettable moments. We encountered different wildlife this morning on our outing on South Plaza, a small island off the east coast of Santa Cruz Island which was formed by lava streaming up from the bottom of the ocean. Read More>

Apr 30, 2015 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

Bartholomew and Chinese Hat Islands

The island of Bartholomew, just like the other islands in Galapagos, has a volcanic origin, and therefore has very little vegetation and not so much rain. All of its volcanic features are well preserved. This morning, we went ashore for a hike to the top of an extinct cinder cone. As we climbed to the summit, we learned about the different types of lava, spatter cones, and some of the pioneer plants that colonized this place. The view from the top was our reward after climbing 372 wooden steps, and it was worth it. Bartholomew Island has the most famous view of the archipelago, and it has been published in many books and magazines around the world. After our first morning excursion, we returned to our ship to have breakfast and to get ready for the next activities. Read More>

Apr 30, 2015 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

The Southern Atolls

The overcast skies and slight breeze were somewhat of a change this morning. Every day we have awoke to temperatures easing into the thirties and the sun seemingly waiting in anticipation to rise. But of all mornings for an overcast sky this was perhaps the most fitting: we were at sea and heading north to visit more picture postcard Maldivian atolls. While at sea onboard National Geographic Orion there is always something happening. Read More>

Apr 30, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Southern Africa & the Indian Ocean

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