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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

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

Prince Rupert & Klewnuggit Inlet

Waking to our first day in Canadian waters, the National Geographic Sea Bird steered toward the port of Prince Rupert. Greeted by the customs officers, the guests checked in, beginning their week-long journey through British Columbia. With the sun high in the sky, our vessel navigated the islands bringing us closer to our afternoon destination. Before lunch, our cultural specialist Bristol Foster gave a talk about Haida Gwaii, a place he knew intimately from years of experience working with and amongst its people. Travelling deeper into the rich waters of British Columbia, we ventured on to discover our afternoon destination—Klewnuggit Inlet Marine Park. Read More>

Sep 13, 2014 National Geographic Sea Bird in Alaska

íles de la Madeleine

“Bonjour, bienvenue aux îles de la Madeleine!” Indeed. All on board National Geographic Explorer would feel very welcomed to this small archipelago of islands here in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. This expedition started in France when we flew by charter to the small island of St. Pierre, then sailed to Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia yesterday. And today we are in the province of Quebec! What a day to explore these small islands, connected to each other by strands of sand dunes, as we had blue skies and warm weather the entire day. Read More>

Sep 13, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Canada

Durres to Kruje/Tirane, Albania

After an exciting night of electrical storms under the mountains of wild Montenegro, we change the pace of the voyage for the next two days in the enigmatic country of Shqiperia, or Albania. Isolated for 50 years under the rule of their delusional dictator Enver Hoxha, the country is now in its adolescence after a shaky and corrupt introduction to capitalism that saw the country tumble through a series of government-acknowledged pyramidal banking schemes. Anarchy saw the country in ruins, and the delicate situation facing the ethnic Albanians of neighboring Kosovo motivated the western governments to prioritize the economic stability and growth of Albania. Today, Albania is a country “under construction” that prides itself on their religious openness and tolerance, and cherishes their long relationship with the United States and the American people. Today we explored the country from many angles and aspects, starting in the large industrial port of Durres, driving up to the base of the Dinar Mountains to the old medieval capital of Kruje, returning into the central basin of the modern capital of Tirane, and even transiting the busy agricultural crossroads of Fushkruje, where a friendly, waving statue in front of the Bank of Tirane commemorates the 2007 visit of American President George W. Read More>

Sep 12, 2014 Sea Cloud in Mediterranean

Petersburg

The waters were like glass as dawn broke over Petersburg this morning and low hanging clouds cloaked the town in silence. A small group of photographers departed National Geographic Sea Lion in search of light, color, pattern and reflection among the fleet of fishing boats in this small fishing village’s harbor. Orange floats, green lines and hook-lined, rope-filled pails punctuate the boat decks with color and texture, giving each a personality as unique as the stories many of them have to tell of days at sea harvesting local seafood from nearby waters. As one looks through the mirror reflections of boat hulls, the underwater community that calls this dock home becomes visible, most notably the giant plumose anemones. Our morning of exploring the area was comprised of several focused walks where we became more familiar with Petersburg and the surrounding area. Read More>

Sep 12, 2014 National Geographic Sea Lion in Alaska

Misty Fjords National Monument, Alaska

Bright sun greeted the National Geographic Sea Bird on our final day in Alaska as we made our way up the Behm Canal towards New Eddystone Rock—a basalt tower named by Capt. George Vancouver in 1793 after a lighthouse in Plymouth, England. A short distance later, we turned the corner and entered Misty Fjords National Monument—one of the most scenic fjords on our journey south. Read More>

Sep 12, 2014 National Geographic Sea Bird in Alaska

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