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Kuiyawa, Trobriand Islands (Papua New Guinea)

This morning the National Geographic Orion meandered cheerfully amidst the Trobriand Islands, made famous worldwide by the anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski when he dubbed them “The Islands of Love.”  His work illuminated the intriguing courtships of the islanders in this matrilineal society in which women at times aggressively pursued their male interests and the act of lovemaking was seen as unconnected to childbearing. Yet while the villagers of Kuiyawa’s notions of love may have changed somewhat through time, their greeting to visitors remains as lovely as ever with cheerful men, women, and children bearing colorful frangipani leis welcoming us warmly. Gathering in front of the school, the village presented us with a series of dances that were not only marvelous sights to behold but a fascinating demonstration of their mixed Melanesian and Polynesian heritage. Read More>

Oct 8, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Borneo & Indonesia

Santiago Island

Today we left the western islands and headed to Santiago, visiting three different locations to offer the best of everything.  This island offers a lot of history due to Charles Darwin’s visit in 1835 during the HMS Beagle’s voyage around the world. Here is where the famous naturalist spent most of his time collecting data before he left never to return. Santiago had a human settlement for several years during the 1920’s which ran a salt mine that later closed because of the hard living conditions. We set foot on the island before the sun could come out entirely and walked to a place called Espumilla beach. Read More>

Oct 7, 2015 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

Snake & Palouse Rivers

Today we have arrived to the Snake River! At 6 A.M., under starlight and a waning crescent, we said adios to the Columbia River. We arrived to Ice Harbor Dam not long after, and moved through the giant guillotine gate before it came down behind us. We rose up quickly and were soon on our way again, 90 ft. higher than when we woke. We continue our journey sailing up, over the continent of North America. Wildlife was in rich supply today, especially after we reached the Palouse River. Read More>

Oct 7, 2015 National Geographic Sea Bird in Pacific Northwest

Isla Santa Clara, Ecuador, At Sea & entrance to Peru - Paita

Throughout the night we sailed south from Puerto López across the wide entrance to Guayaquil and made our approach to the island of Santa Clara. The island lies some 26 nautical miles west of Puerto Bolívar, on the mainland of Ecuador. The island was also known as Isla del Muerto as it looks from afar like a dead man. We all enjoy the leisurely start to the day, which we have been afforded by our expedition leader, with a later than usual wake up call, head off to breakfast, and a little later we board the Zodiacs and set off towards the island, which is some way off. Read More>

Oct 6, 2015 National Geographic Explorer in South American West Coast

Isabela & Fernandina Islands

The breeze was gentle and the ocean was calm as we were flanked on one side there by volcanoes.  We woke up navigating around the Island that resembles a sea horse, Isabela. Early in the morning some guests decided to join us on the sky deck to look for any kind of big, marine mammal and we had great success. Read More>

Oct 6, 2015 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

The Dalles/Maryhill

All good things must come to an end. However, the memories of today’s activities and historical and natural lessons remain. Crisp weather with peek-a-boo sunshine, looming mountains (especially Mt. Adams and Mt. Hood), exposure to moving about by motor coach, bicycle, on foot, and aboard the good ship National Geographic Sea Bird, opened up wonders of the Columbia River central valley. Today we followed the path of Lewis & Clark’s 1806 return eastward journey. Read More>

Oct 6, 2015 National Geographic Sea Bird in Pacific Northwest

Columbia River Gorge Area

My oh my, what a busy day!  At predawn, our little ship sailed by Cape Horn, a remarkable basaltic wall, as we entered the magnificent gorge carved by the Columbia River with a great deal of help from the Ice Age floods.  As the eastern sky began to glow orange, Beacon Rock, an ancient volcanic neck, came into view.  It was here that Lewis and Clark first noticed tidal influence on the river. By breakfast, we were just below the Bonneville Dam and Lock looking up at Table Mountain and its huge scar which is the result of a massive landslide that dammed up the Columbia River hundreds of years ago. Read More>

Oct 6, 2015 National Geographic Sea Lion in Pacific Northwest

Orangerie Bay, Samarai and Deka Deka Islands (Papua New Guinea)

Orangerie Bay is known as a gathering place during certain times of the year for whale sharks, the biggest fish in the sea.  As luck would have it, October is one of those times.  Although we kept a watch during our transit of the bay this morning, none was seen.  We did, however, spot numerous sea birds, schools of small fish, and several floating coconuts.  The rugged coastline and jagged islets off our port side, as well as occasional views of reefs on both sides of our vessel, showed us why these were considered very treacherous waters for sailing ships in the days before accurate charts were produced. We arrived at our anchorage midway between Samarai and Deka Deka Islands soon after lunch. Read More>

Oct 6, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Borneo & Indonesia

Isla de La Plata & Puerto López, Ecuador

No, National Geographic Explorer is not in Galápagos, but we are in Ecuador, and this morning we set anchor off the shores of Isla de la Plata also called “Little Galapagos” by the locals. This gem of an island is just 32 km off the coast of mainland Ecuador and is part of Machalillo National Park. The semiarid climate of this region is quite a stark contrast from the coast of Colombia only a couple hundred miles to the north. La Plata with its dry scrub ecosystem is home to thousands of nesting seabirds, most prevalent of them being the magnificent frigatebirds as well as the iconic and charismatic blue-footed booby. Led by local naturalist guides, a requirement of the park, many of us set out on the trails that wind around the top portion of the island. We were all thrilled to get such closeup and intimate looks at these wonderful birds with boobies nesting literally right on the trail at times. Also present here, but in fewer numbers, are both Nazca and red-footed boobies. The views from the cliffs overlooking the sea were breathtaking with swarms of birds coming and going and frigatebirds soaring high above. We also were provided the option to spend some time in the rich waters around the island by taking a local snorkeling boat just off shore. Carlos Navarro, our undersea specialist, partook in two dives while we were here and managed to video the spectacular marine life found here, including green sea turtles, and myriads of fish. By afternoon we were anchored near Puerto López, this vibrant little fishing village also serves as the main point of access to Isla de la Plata. Read More>

Oct 5, 2015 National Geographic Explorer in South American West Coast

Astoria, Fort Clatsop, Cape Disappointment

Hard to imagine a better day than this!  As dawn broke, the National Geographic Sea Lion was at the mouth of the mighty Columbia beneath clear skies with magnificent vistas in every direction.  California sea lions lounged in languid repose on nearby buoy channel markers.  Blows from a humpback whale punctuated the morning air with a primordial beckoning, providing us with the first hint that this was going to be a most extraordinary day. After docking in the historic town of Astoria, the first American settlement on the Pacific coast, we traveled south to Fort Clatsop, headquarters of the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery during the winter of 1805-06. Read More>

Oct 5, 2015 National Geographic Sea Lion in Pacific Northwest

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

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