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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

Expedition Day, 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

Santa Cruz Island

As we pulled into Academy Bay, named when the California Academy of Sciences came to the islands in 1905, there were already a few folks on the top deck limbering up with our Wellness Specialist in preparation for the day ahead. Read More>

Apr 29, 2015 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

Santa Cruz Island; Cerro Dragon, Guy Fawkes, Eden

It is our fifth day exploring the Galápagos Islands aboard the National Geographic Endeavour, and yet we continue to be amazed by this wonderful paradise. Every day, our discoveries confirm why this destination is also known as the living laboratory. Today, our expedition took place on the northern side of Santa Cruz, the second largest island after Isabela. For the very first time during this week, we were able to see land iguanas in the wild. Because we are at the end of the rainy season, there are still very good conditions for these reptiles, and we spotted them all along the walking trail during this morning’s nature hike. Some of the other highlights of the day included sightings of a greater flamingo, blue footed boobies, and both black and white-tipped sharks. We completed our day with some water activities, including a deep water snorkeling outing, kayaking, and a zodiac ride. Read More>

Apr 29, 2015 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Floreana Island

Today we visited Floreana Island which was well visited by buccaneers, pirates, whalers and sailors in search of giant tortoises and fresh water. Charles Darwin himself visited this island and found the Vice Governor of this island, a British man by the last name of Lawsen, while a penal colony was running here in 1635.  Before breakfast we had a wet landing onto the island and explored deeper, encountering a brackish water lagoon with a large group of Greater flamingos. Read More>

Apr 28, 2015 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

Santa Cruz Island

Our destination today was the Charles Darwin Research Station at Santa Cruz Island, the second largest island in the archipelago. On our way to the rearing center for giant tortoises, we walked through a very green area full of local vegetation, like the gigantic prickly pear cactus, which has a large trunk, like a tree. Read More>

Apr 28, 2015 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Floreana Island

On our third day of expedition we reach the southernmost tip of the Galapagos, Floreana Island. Floreana is also known as the island of mysteries, due to some extraordinary events that happened here in the 1930s, when some of the inhabitants died or disappeared under unclear circumstances.  We had an early wake-up call, in order to enjoy the sunrise, and afterwards we took a moderately-paced hike on an easy trail, which brought us to a brackish water lagoon where many different bird varieties can be found. Read More>

Apr 27, 2015 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Española Island

I was up very early this morning in order to make a few phone calls. A few phone calls you say? Just to the five cabins that had signed up the evening before for an early-bird kayak outing along the basalt bluffs of Gardner Bay. In the islands we are not allowed to place the kayaks on shore (besides which, the breakers, though small, would be hellish to deal with), so we have developed a wonderful method for embarking from Zodiacs. Off we went on placid waters, paddling leisurely.  We saw a sea lion swim underneath one kayak, marine turtles pop their heads out of the water, admired the enormous prickly pear cacti trees on top of the cliffs, heard Española mockingbirds sing from above, and felt the day start to heat up as the sun rose quickly on the equator. After breakfast and after a briefing on snorkeling, we split into two groups. Read More>

Apr 27, 2015 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

At Sea, Headed for the Maldives

Sea conditions today were perfect. Of course, if National Geographic Orion were a sailing ship, we would probably have not enjoyed the day so much as we would have been becalmed. We were “like a painted ship upon a painted sea.” As far as the eye could see, there were puffy clouds scattered about, many of which produced picturesque reflections. It was a bit odd that there appeared to always be less cloud coverage overhead than anywhere else. This optical illusion was caused by the foreshortened lower angles of our views towards the horizon, making the clouds looked more concentrated farther away in all directions. Even so, we could observe several huge isolated cumulo-nimbus thunderheads here and there that were dumping huge amounts of concentrated rain into the ocean. This seemed a waste of freshwater when one considers the many drought-stricken terrestrial areas around the world. A slight breeze built up in the later afternoon that was just enough to produce some curious Langmuir circulation lines. Read More>

Apr 27, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Southern Africa & the Indian Ocean


Española, also known as Hood Island, is the oldest island in the Galapagos. Read More>

Apr 26, 2015 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

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

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Daily Expedition Report Information

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