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Canna to Armadale on Skye, Cuillin, Eilean Donan & Plockton

Another beautiful day dawns and we are off to the Isle of Skye. At Armadale we visited the Clan Donald Centre. The Museum of the Isles has a fantastic exhibition on the history of this area. All the information from the last week on subjects like the Lord of the Isles, the Jacobites and the Clearances to name just a few, slotted into place. The museum is surrounded by gardens where Konia Tack took us on a garden tour pointing out plants from all over the world. Read More>

Aug 28, 2016 Lord of the Glens in Scotland

Tracy Arm & The Brothers

This morning, we awoke to precipitous cliffs lining the glacial fiord of Tracy Arm. As we cruised by dramatic mountains, the aftermath of Pleistocene glaciation surrounded us with U-shaped valleys, sheer waterfalls, and narrow gorges leading up to South Sawyer Glacier. The fjord was packed with gargantuan, captivating icebergs and soon we piled into the expedition landing craft for a closer look! Cameras snapped shots left and right of the icy asunder until some mountain goats, with adorable kids nipping at their heels, stole the spotlight. Read More>

Aug 28, 2016 National Geographic Sea Bird in Alaska

Tobermory on the Isle of Mull & the Isle of Canna

Tobermory was glorious this morning in the sunshine that stayed with us all day. We walked around town, explored the shops and of course took plenty of photographs of the lovely multi-colored houses. Back on board we headed west, whilst Konia Tack gave a talk on the history of lighthouses in Scotland, their engineers, and lighthouse keepers and the obstacles passed to build these lifesaving structures. Read More>

Aug 27, 2016 Lord of the Glens in Scotland

Durres, Tirana & Kruje, Albania

Our second day in the fascinating country of Albania provided a taste of every era of this land’s complex history. After Sea Cloud docked at the port of Durres, we set out for Tirana, the capital of Albania. Starting with an exploration of Tirana’s National Historical Museum, our local guides, Ols and Adrian, skillfully walked us through millennia of change, starting in the Neolithic era and ending with the Communist dictatorship of Enver Hoxha. After this visit, we travelled by bus through a varied landscape of cornfields, quaint agricultural towns, and small-scale industrial areas to reach the city of Kruje. Read More>

Aug 27, 2016 Sea Cloud in Mediterranean

Endicott Arm and Dawes Glacier, Southeast Alaska

Bright sunlight and a clear blue sky greeted us this morning on the National Geographic Sea Lion. We cruised up into the narrow and grandiose fjord called Endicott Arm, on the southeast Alaskan mainland. This deep channel was carved by glacial action during the last ice age and its rocks are still polished and barren, thousands of years later. After a hearty breakfast, we slid into our bright yellow kayaks and paddled around in Dawes Cove, examining small icebergs and enjoying the warm weather. After everyone returned to the ship, more than a dozen people were brave enough to do the Polar Plunge! One by one, they jumped into the 38 degree (F) seawater, then clambered quickly into a waiting expedition landing crafts, sputtering and laughing. Then we all followed the wonderful smell of the taco bar into the dining hall for lunch. The National Geographic Sea Lion pushed almost all the way to the head of Endicott Arm, where Dawes Glacier awaited us. Read More>

Aug 27, 2016 National Geographic Sea Lion in Alaska

Åland

A sunrise departure from Stockholm took us through the beautiful archipelago onto the Baltic Sea, northeastward, to Åland or, more precisely, the Åland islands. This is a part of Finland, so euros are useful again, and clocks have to go an hour forward. Åland, smack in the middle of the Baltic Sea between Sweden and Finland, has had a very checkered history. Read More>

Aug 26, 2016 National Geographic Orion in Europe aboard NG Orion

Iona & Duart Castle, Isle of Mull

We sailed from Oban to Craignure on the Isle of Mull where our coach was waiting to take us across the island to meet the ferry for Iona. The journey, just over an hour in length along a single-track road, is a remarkable for wildlife, with good chances of seeing both golden and white-tailed eagles on the high mountain ridges and shoreline waders and even shy otters along the island’s southwestern shores. There is even a road sign to warn motorists of the presence of otters on the road. Red deer were spotted reposing on the lawn of a local property. There were also several monuments to the island’s rich cultural traditions along the way, including one to Mary Macdonald the author of the Gaelic hymn first translated as Child in the Manger and sung to the local tune of Bunessan, a village through which we passed, a haunting melody given global reach by Cat Stevens with his rendition of ‘Morning has Broken. Read More>

Aug 26, 2016 Lord of the Glens in Scotland

Stephens Passage, Endicott Arm & The Dawes Glacier

This incredible week of whales, bears, and ice continued to awe and inspire us on our last full day with a cherished experience traveling through Stephens Passage in the early morning and later in Holkham Bay in the southern Endicott Arm branch of this vast fjord. After cruising the morning looking for wildlife and stunning views of huge rock walls, cliffs, and waterfalls, we approached the Dawes Glacier for ice tours weaving around the colossal blue ice chunks. Dawes did not disappoint with displays of calving and small displacing waves from the ice that fell into the water. Even some of the icebergs broke apart and calved, showing the inside ice bubbles, holes, and various shades of bright blue. Our exquisite crew aboard National Geographic Sea Bird came out to “the rescue” to warm up our brave fellows on the quest for tidewater glacial ice. Read More>

Aug 26, 2016 National Geographic Sea Bird in Alaska

The Balkan Peninsula, Albania

It was a beautiful night sailing as we entered the waters along the mountainous coast of Albania. At sunrise the Sea Cloud approached the deep-water harbor at Sarande, a bustling resort town. A short drive along the scenic coastline brings us to Butrint, Albania’s premier archeological attraction and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Whilst spending the morning exploring Butrint, we learned all about the four different cultural periods that occupied this historic site over the ages. Read More>

Aug 26, 2016 Sea Cloud in Mediterranean

Petersburg

After having a spectacular day in Glacier Bay National Park, with brown bears, mountain goats, a wolf fantastic scenery, and helping celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the National Park System, the National Geographic Sea Lion left on its way for tomorrow’s destination, Petersburg, Alaska. It’s quite a distance to cover between the two, so we left by six p.m., traveled all night and morning, finally arriving in Petersburg just before lunch time. Luckily, the weather cooperated as we traversed through Frederick Sound, with warm temperatures, no wind and clearing skies! Along the way there was plenty of Humpback Whale activity in the area to keep us entertained. Read More>

Aug 26, 2016 National Geographic Sea Lion in Alaska

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

 

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