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Glacier Bay National Park

The day started early (0230!) for some guests when the call came over the P.A. system about the northern lights (aurora borealis) display. As National Geographic Sea Lion traveled north in Glacier Bay National Park, the Great Bear constellation (Big Dipper - Ursa major, the symbol on Alaska’s state flag) was draped in shifting curtains of green light. We were fortunate to have the rare combination of conditions necessary for good viewing of this phenomenon—clear dark skies and charged particles from the sun entering the earth’s atmosphere and interacting with various gases. By dawn we were situated in front of Margerie and Grand Pacific Glaciers at the end of Tarr Inlet—the northernmost extent of our voyage. Read More>

Aug 26, 2015 National Geographic Sea Lion in Alaska

Along the Great Glen to Corpach & Glenfinnan

A beautiful calm morning with stunning reflections on the waters of the Caledonian Canal soon enticed us to come on deck. Our sail with Lord of the Glens took us across the highest point of the canal at Loch Oich at 106 feet. Here Konia entertained us with some gruesome stories up to Laggan Avenue. Trees on the shore keep up the banks and create the amazing impression of sailing through a forest—on a cruise ship! Photographic opportunities galore where pointed out by Steve and then David did a talk on the Highland Clearances explaining much about this landscape steeped in history. Over lunch we sailed down Neptune’s Staircase. Read More>

Aug 26, 2015 Lord of the Glens in Scotland

Amazon Natural Park & Nauta Caño

During our exploration of the upper Amazon, we have experienced a magic combination of wildlife. Today we had a marvelous taste of it at two of the most magical places of the area. In the morning we visited a natural treasure: The Amazon Natural Park. Read More>

Aug 25, 2015 Delfin II in Amazon

Isabela Island

Isabela, the largest island in the Galápagos group, is created by the fusion of six enormous shield volcanoes, which give rise to the characteristic “seahorse” shape of the island. In 1954, 1. Read More>

Aug 25, 2015 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Inian islands and Fox Creek

Long fronds of all three of the largest species of kelp –bull, dragon and giant- in the Pacific northwest covered a big part of the calm waters near our anchorage at the Inian islands; beneath the glassy surface kelp form extensive underwater forests that provide food and shelter for a number of creatures, from sea urchins and nudibranchs to sea otters and harbor seals. Many different species of sea stars crawl on top of their holdfasts and on the lower portions of their stipes, including rose, blood and velcro stars; the heavy-weight champion of the sea star world, the sunflower star, prowls on the bottom looking for pretty much everything it can catch, from clams and barnacles to other sea stars and even the occasional fish. All that and more I witnessed before breakfast this morning while SCUBA diving and documented it on video to share with everybody on board during recap. During the morning we all explored the small archipelago of the Inians using our expedition landing craft. Read More>

Aug 25, 2015 National Geographic Sea Lion in Alaska

Polar Bear Pass Region

The Polar Bear Pass region lived up to its name, providing plenty of wonderful polar bear encounters. Three bears woke us early this morning, luring us out of our warm beds. With many ringed and bearded seals around it was no surprise to find a family of bears out on the ice. While passengers gathered on the bow, a mother and her two cubs moved tentatively towards the ship. As the mother turned and led her cubs away from the ship the polar bears provided a beautiful photographic opportunity for those out on deck. Jumping one by one across gaps in the ice, all while obeying the rule of separation, the bears left National Geographic photographer Ralph Lee Hopkins, among others, audibly excited. The arrival of two more bears interrupted our breakfast and before long our passengers were out on deck again. Read More>

Aug 25, 2015 National Geographic Explorer in Arctic

At Sea

Our first day on Sea Cloud started as it should: a full day dedicated to sailing in the Aegean Sea! This is the sea named after the tragic king Aegeas who threw himself off the cliffs of Cape Sounion and was drown in it, because he saw his son Theseus’s ship returning with black sails from Crete—where his son went to kill the monster Minotaur in the Labyrinth—and thought his son was dead. Tragedy!  It was a beautiful day for us nevertheless, and we sailed in the dark bright blue waters, the same sea where man set sail for the first time in human history thousands of years ago! The god of the winds Aeolus sent us just the right amount of wind from the northeast to set sails and be on our course along the east coast of the Peloponnese heading south. After all this was the right time of the year, because during the two hottest months of the year, July and August, we are blessed in Greece with strong northeast winds, the meltemi winds, that blow and keep us cool and not humid. Many of us were up on the spanker deck in the morning, where our expedition leader Tom O’Brian gave explanations as the crew was climbing the ropes and masts to open the square sails at dizzying heights! The day proceeded at a very relaxed pace, and when the time came for our wonderful buffet lunch on the lido deck, we were all stunned by a humongous fresh tuna fish that was the highlight, among many other delightful dishes! It was cut on the spot, and we had it either raw or grilled, and of course we loved it! Our day was also enriched by a “crash” lecture on photography given by our onboard expert Linda Burback, and an overview of the Greek history in the region presented by the two Greek cultural specialists Roula and Smaro. Read More>

Aug 25, 2015 Sea Cloud in Mediterranean

Culloden, Clava Cairns & Loch Ness

Upon awaking we found ourselves in the mists of a soft rain gently falling around us. It was however, fitting weather for the morning outings for today, a visit to the Culloden where on April 16, 1746 the Jacobite forces fighting for “Bonnie Prince Charlie” In their attempt to restore the Stuarts to the throne, were crushed in a horrific defeat. In less than an hour, hundreds of men loyal to the Stuart’s lost their lives to a bloody massacre that earned the British commander the nickname “Butcher”. It is a solemn place, and the outstanding museum gives a detailed account of this historic battle. In one room, you are surrounded by screens that show a movie enactment of the bloody battle, making you feel as though you were there on the battle ground, experiencing the slaughter. The battlefield itself is now only a large field, where red flags mark British soldiers positions, and blue mark the lines of the doomed Jacobites. As you walk the landscape now covered with heather, thistle, and other wildflowers, you can hardly help but wonder about the carnage that took place here so long ago. After our visit to Culloden, we set off for the Clava Cairns, which are the remains of three burial chambers surrounded by standing stones that date back to the Early Bronze Age, 2,000 - 1,500 B. Read More>

Aug 25, 2015 Lord of the Glens in Scotland

Glacier Bay National Park

Glacier Bay National Park greeted us with a spectacular day from sunrise to sunset. As we all know, the temperate rain forest environment of Southeast Alaska, receives great amounts of rain during the late summer. This rain is carefully timed by nature to give life to the salmon streams, the forests, and all the creatures that are getting ready for a long winter. With that said, some days can be glorious, with perfect weather, and today was one of those days. We woke up all the way up Johns Hopkins Inlet. Read More>

Aug 25, 2015 National Geographic Sea Bird in Alaska

Jaco Island, Timor Leste

The day before yesterday, National Geographic Orion left behind the arid, stony cliffs of Australia and this morning we pulled back our curtains to see the gentle, verdant slopes of Timor Leste (East Timor). Instead of a continental wilderness with nary a local soul, we are now in a small island nation with a relatively dense population. We started the day at a delightful little place called Jaco Island. Read More>

Aug 25, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Pacific Islands & Australia

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