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Angkor Ban and Kompong Cham (Wat Nokor), Cambodia

At dawn, we are moored near the village of Angkor Ban on the Mighty Mekong. Going ashore, we enter this authentic rural village through the brightly colored pagoda with the typical elements of Theravada Buddhism. Beyond the temple, dozens of wooden houses have survived three decades of civil war, giving us a unique insight into the traditional rural architecture of Cambodia. Single-room houses on tall wooden stilts are surrounded by vegetable gardens, hay stacks, and small herds of cows. These houses are not without reminding us of the habitations of the people of Angkor, an architecture and way of life dating back a thousand years. Mrs. Korn, 81-years old resident of this village, invites us inside her house, which we visit shoeless, as local customs require. We then proceed through the local market, where live fish and colorful vegetables are for sale, then walk past the high school where some young students in recess approach us to practice their English skills. Read More>

Jan 23, 2015 Jahan in Vietnam & Cambodia

Magdalena Bay

We spent the night anchored at the north end of Magdalena Bay. As the sun rose, we were watching and listening to gray whales as they surfaced, exhaled, and spyhopped around the ship. Gray whales were the theme of the day. This morning’s tidal current was especially strong due to the recent new moon. Read More>

Jan 22, 2015 National Geographic Sea Bird in Baja California

Kampong Tralach and Koh Oaknha Tey

It’s not every day you can ride through a rural Cambodian village on the back of an ox cart. But that’s exactly how we on Jahan started off our morning. We set out before sunrise to beat the heat, and loaded up on the back the village ox carts for one of the most exciting rides of our trip. For many of us, this will be the most exciting mode of transportation we’ve ever experienced. We jump on the back of the ox carts, gently padded with hand-woven rugs layered on a bed of straw, and off we ride into the rice fields. The sun peaks up over the horizon, and the land is covered in the golden glow of the morning light. What a spectacular way to start the day!  Mid-way through the rice field, we stop to admire the lotus flowers that are growing alongside the embankment. Read More>

Jan 22, 2015 Jahan in Vietnam & Cambodia

South Plaza and Santa Fe Islands

After breakfast we had dry landing on a colorful uplifted island known as South Plaza which is named after an Ecuadorian President. We hiked along a flat, very arid landscape covered with yellow land iguanas and red succulent Galapagos carpet weed. Read More>

Jan 22, 2015 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

Antarctic Sound & Brown Bluff

This morning we awoke in Antarctic Sound, just to the northeastern end of the Antarctic Peninsula. It did not take long before we spotted some of the tabular icebergs that this area is known for. The beautiful flat-topped bergs have broken off ice shelves and worked their way out of the ice filled Weddell Sea.  After breakfast the captain took us exploring into Active Sound—named for the first whaling ship to sail through this passage in 1892, reminding us of the activities that went on here over 120 years ago. Read More>

Jan 22, 2015 National Geographic Explorer in Antarctica

Bartolomé & Chinese Hat Islands

Contrasts are all around us as we continue our expedition towards the western and youngest part of the archipelago. We get an early start as we come upon Bartolome Island and experience a deep orange glow silhouette of the sunrise behind this small satellite islet of Santiago Island. Subdued colors of grey and burnt sienna great us as we land and we proceed to climb to the top. After four hundred steps, a view of over twenty islands is upon us with Santa Cruz and Santiago islands being prominent. This small island is within the rain shadow of Santa Cruz, with just a few pioneer plants species holding on and starting light topsoil on this geological baby of an island. Mid-morning we land on a golden beach as the sun heads to its apex. The water temperature is brisk as we enter, and we are delighted with a plethora of aquatic species. Galapagos sea lions dart among us and various white-tipped reef sharks swim just a meter below us. Large Panamic sea cushion stars line the seabed with schools of razor surgeonfish grazing on algae upon the shallow reef. Pacific green sea turtles’ nests are observed as we return to the beach with Sally Lightfoot crabs feeding on algae upon the exposed reef at low tide. Into the afternoon, our Captain John navigates the ship towards Chinese Hat Island, close to the southeastern coast of Santiago. Read More>

Jan 22, 2015 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Casa Orquideas Garden & Rio Tigre, Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica

The long navigation from Panamanian waters into Costa Rica was as calm as sailing through a lake. National Geographic Sea Lion felt like cutting soft butter with a knife as we made or entrance into our port of call, Golfito, for customs, water, and other errands. Golfito (the town) means “small gulf” because it is actually within a very large Gulf, Golfo Dulce, a masterpiece of the tectonical forces, which sunk the center area of this oceanic crust to an average depth of 700 ft. These enclosed waters, the lush surrounding forest, and the deepness of this gulf makes it a unique arrange of marine and land ecosystems, and therefore our day is pack with all kind of activities, in order to explore the area as much as possible. After all formalities and stamped passports were done, we were officially welcome in the country and new adventures awaited us. Dock off from Golfito, short navigation ahead, calm blue oceans, and lush green forest with patches of yellow flower trees were the scenery for our morning outing. Read More>

Jan 21, 2015 National Geographic Sea Lion in Costa Rica & Panama

Magdalena Bay

The first light of the day found us sailing off the western coast of the peninsula of Baja California towards Magdalena Bay; shortly after sunrise the National Geographic Sea Bird was in front of Punta Tosca, which is the southernmost point of Santa Margarita island. Together with the peninsula and Cresciente, Santo Domingo, and Magdalena islands, Santa Margarita forms the huge Magdalena Bay, one of the main gray whale calving lagoons and the southernmost of them. But as we sailed in the open Pacific heading to the gap between Santa Margarita and Magdalena islands, known locally as La Entrada (‘the entrance”), we had the chance to enjoy once again the beauty and grace of humpback whales. Several individuals delighted us with such interesting displays such as tail and pectoral fin slapping and breaches as they possibly headed towards their own calving grounds off the southern tip of the peninsula. We eventually reached La Entrada and abandoned the open Pacific, entering Magdalena Bay; almost right away we spotted the first gray whales of our trip and learned firsthand the differences between them and the humpbacks that we got to know so well. Read More>

Jan 21, 2015 National Geographic Sea Bird in Baja California

Neko Harbour

This morning we awoke in the stunning and still surroundings of Neko Harbour. The strong winds that were buffeting the more exposed regions of the Peninsula were dampened here, the stately mountaintops and dusky snow clouds enveloping National Geographic Orion as we disembarked and jumped into the Zodiacs ready to be shuttled the short distance to shore.   A familiar welcome party of Gentoo penguins were on shore, strewn out along the narrow pebble beach and zipping through the shallow waters. Read More>

Jan 21, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Antarctica

Tonle Sap River, Kampong Chhnang, Cambodia

After an exciting night in the capital city of Phnom Penh, we awoke to a quiet dawn still alongside the dock in the heart of the city. Read More>

Jan 21, 2015 Jahan in Vietnam & Cambodia

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

 


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