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Williams Cove and Tracy Arm

National Geographic Sea Lion departed the dock in Juneau and cruised south in Stephens Passage. We turned eastward and entered the narrow channel that led us safely across the shallow terminal moraine – The “Tracy Arm Bar” as we call it, and into Holcomb Bay. We continued to Williams Cove and dropped the anchor.  In the lounge after breakfast the photo and natural history staff introduced themselves and Larry continued with briefings about loading our inflatable craft (DIBs), hiking in bear country, and kayaking. Read More>

Sep 1, 2014 National Geographic Sea Lion in Alaska

Mitkof Island, Ideal Cove & Petersburg

Loops of pale olive old man’s beard lichen decorated the spiky branches of Sitka spruce and beckoned our walkers to enter the green cave of the temperate coastal rain forest at Ideal Cove this morning. The dense growth of the forest enveloped each group of walkers as we cleared the last downed log and set off along the boardwalk. It’s fall, most definitely…raindrops dangle off ruby red high bush cranberries and red huckleberry; most of the blueberry crop has been consumed by the bears and previous hikers. Shiny fungi caps have popped up here and there—and oh boy!—my personal favorite, sulfur shelf or chicken of the woods was a delightful discovery. The soft outer tips of these young fungi are a wild Southeast Alaskan delicacy. Across the creek the large maple-shaped leaves of Devil’s Club are turning orange and yellow. Signs of the changing season are all around. In Petersburg, school starts tomorrow and salmon season is winding down. Read More>

Sep 1, 2014 National Geographic Sea Bird in Alaska

Fury and Hecla Strait: With a Little Help From Our Friends

For the final approach to Fury and Hecla Strait on the southwest corner of Baffin Island, we needed some assistance. The strait is the gateway to Foxe Basin, which we are keen to explore, but getting there will take some grit. Multi-year sea ice has closed in on the opening to these narrows. Though our ship, National Geographic Explorer, is strong and able, this ice is too much for her to go alone. Fortunately, we could call in a Canadian Ice Escort (for free!), and we did.   The Pierre Radisson - a 100-metre icebreaker painted bright red and white - arrived at 9:00am this morning, and an hour later, Jim Napoli (our video chronicler) and I were aboard. Read More>

Sep 1, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Arctic

Floreana Island

Floreana, also known as Charles or Santa Maria, is a peaceful island in the southern area of the Galapagos Archipelago. It is one of the four inhabited islands here, and it was the first one officially inhabited by Ecuadorians, when Ecuador took possession of the Islands in 1832. Only three years later, the famous naturalist Charles Darwin visited Floreana Island, and after him many more visitors were part of a unique and bizarre human history: from marooned whalers to prisoners and colonists, and from a toothless dentist to a self-proclaimed empress.   The island has many visitors sites, and one of them is Punta Cormorant. Read More>

Sep 1, 2014 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Ithaka & Sailing

This morning we visited the legendary but ironically overlooked Ionian island of Ithaca, home and return destination of the Trojan War hero Odysseus and Homer’s Odyssey. It is a wonderfully rugged and intriguing island, which we experienced from land and sea, and we even took a swim from the ship along its east coast. But perhaps the spirit of Ithaka—and for all Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic travelers—is best captured by the great 20th century Greek poet Constantin Cavafy in his poem Ithaka: Ithaka   When you set out for Ithaka ask that your way be long, full of adventure, full of instruction. Read More>

Aug 31, 2014 Sea Cloud in Mediterranean

Tracy Arm, Williams Cove

We awoke this morning with views of floating icebergs as we approached Sawyer and South Sawyer glaciers. The beauty of this area was first described in 1880 by John Muir. National Geographic Sea Bird and all aboard had the privilege to experience the vastness and grandeur of the towering cliffs more than 2,000 feet tall and the teal waters that go to the stunning depth of up to 1,000 feet. A valley glacially carved and gorgeous to behold! It is truly an area unique to photograph and observe the calving events at the glacial face and harbor seals and mountain goats.   The afternoon was complete with interpretation and photo hikes as well as a relaxed paddle during the kayaking outing. Read More>

Aug 31, 2014 National Geographic Sea Bird in Alaska

Eclipse Harbour, Boothia Peninsula & Gulf of Boothia

The geese are calling. We sense the changing of the seasons. Summer fades into terra cotta richness in the tundra. It is as if the warm colours of fall attempt to extend summer temperatures just a little longer. The days too are becoming shorter. The sun still crawls into the sky at sunrise but at a much more civilized hour on the clock, just as it exits slowly at an earlier hour.   Glimmering in the sunshine, flocks of snow geese and Canada geese winged their way overhead, moving in a classic V-formation. Read More>

Aug 31, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Arctic

Española Island

Located in the southeastern end of the Galápagos archipelago, Española is one of the most interesting islands due to its landscape and wildlife. We woke up to a drizzly morning, typical of this time of the year, but despite this we could see how beautiful this area was. We were anchored at Gardner Bay, with its turquoise waters and white sandy beach. We started off by snorkeling at nearby Gardner Islet, in order to explore the underwater world. There were fantastic schools of razor surgeonfish, and other species like the parrot fish and king angel fish were also sighted. The weather soon improved and we landed at the beach, which is inhabited by some Galápagos sea lions. A dominant bull sea lion kept patrolling the length of the beach, at the same time trying to impress a few female sea lions in the vicinity. One of the most popular birds on this island is the endemic Española mockingbird. We saw several of them constantly looking for insects and plant material to eat on the sand. Many of our guests were able to relax and take a stroll on the beach, enjoying the warm air temperature, while others could explore the nearby coastline by kayak, one of the most popular activities of the week. In the afternoon, we navigated further west along the coast of Española towards Punta Suárez, one of the most striking visitors’ sites of the Enchanted Islands. Read More>

Aug 31, 2014 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Katakolon, Olympia

Today we had a beautiful morning at sea. After breakfast we set sail towards Katakolon. Without very much wind we set all the square sails to catch every available breath of wind. There was enough wind to fill the sails, but still keep the seas calm, so during breakfast we put down the Zodiacs and most of us went out for a unique and exciting circumnavigation of Sea Cloud under sail. Back on board, our guides Effie and Stella gave us a talk on Greek Religion and Culture. By noon we arrived at the small port of Katakolon on the west side of the Peloponnese; a small but busy port. After lunch we visited Olympia which is only 30 minutes away. Read More>

Aug 30, 2014 Sea Cloud in Mediterranean

San Cristobal Island

This morning we had our last wet landing, this time on a green sandy beach made up of an inorganic mix of volcanic ashes and tiny pieces of olivine crystals. After drying our feet and putting on our shoes we were ready to climb through an eroded trench created by the erosion of water and wind through millions of years.  Punta Pitt is the closest point to mainland Ecuador, about 600 nautical miles away, and one of the oldest islands of the archipelago. Read More>

Aug 30, 2014 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

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