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Lastest Expedition Reports

Yahun-Yufri Village Complex, Asmat

We spent another incredible day in the Asmat region of southern New Guinea.  The entire Asmat vicinity is essentially a giant delta formed from countless rivers that drain the central mountainous regions.  These rivers are tidally-influenced, brackish, and infiltrate the largest mangrove habitat on Earth.  At first glance, it appears very foreboding and an impossible environment for human survival.  We can barely imagine a harsher environment in which to live.  But, people do survive here and have done so for thousands of years.  The Asmat people live here.  Soon after sunrise, we anchored offshore from Yahun-Yufri villages. Read More>

Oct 2, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Borneo & Indonesia

Bartholomew Island & Sombrero Chino

Just after daybreak, the intrepid guests took off to climb 365 wooden steps (with a bannister) to reach the top of Bartholomew Island. Possibly the most iconic view known in the islands, it gives one an expansive panorama over the island itself and beyond: Santiago Island, Pinzon Island and on a good day even “Nameless” is visible. Santa Cruz Island sits to the south, and off to the east, Daphne Major (where we circumnavigated while wine-tasting yesterday), and Daphne Minor stand lonely in the flat ocean in front of Baltra. But we don’t want to think about Baltra just yet. That is where the airport is located, and from where everyone will depart in just two days’ time. Meanwhile, the first groups to the top had a visit from a juvenile hawk. Read More>

Oct 1, 2015 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

South Plaza and Santa Fe

This small island just off Santa Cruz offers the visitor a picturesque setting combined with a large presence of wildlife.  As soon as we set foot on the island we are welcomed by sea lions of all ages and sizes. Almost the entire island is covered by portulaca and prickly pears, both impressive in size and color. Read More>

Oct 1, 2015 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

The Dalles, Gorge Discovery Center, Maryhill Museum

The dawn greeted those of us out on deck by spectacularly illuminating Oregon’s tallest mountain: Mount Hood. This massive volcano loomed over The Dalles, our destination and the focal point of the day’s activities. After breakfast we took a pair of coaches out to the Gorge Discovery Center. This museum has an excellent assortment of interpretive displays on the region’s natural and cultural history, including some great information on the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Staff at the Discovery Center brought out live raptors to show us and we took a nature walk around the grounds, learning about the native plants. Many of the species we saw were described and collected by Lewis and Clark. Many of us chose to take an energizing 5.5 mile bike ride back to the National Geographic Sea Lion in town. In the afternoon we all went out to the Maryhill Museum in Washington. Read More>

Oct 1, 2015 National Geographic Sea Lion in Pacific Northwest

The Asmat Region

In theory, one could prepare for a day like today. You could listen to the briefings, take notes during the lectures or overhear stories from the likes of Lawrence Blair and Valerie Taylor of what it was like to visit several decades ago. Even the timing of when it will all start is painstakingly coordinated, as mid morning finds an ordered row of full Zodiacs headed upstream to the village of Agats here in the Asmat region of New Guinea. For a fleeting moment there is a sensation of confidence that occurs when moving in a formation, and then everything you learned, or thought you knew, is replaced by raw wonder. Upon rounding the last river bend we are transported back centuries. Awaiting our arrival are over a hundred wooden canoes, each with a crew of at least four or five fiercely festooned figures. In unison a ululating cry goes up, not some dull roar of a stadium audience, but a rhythmic vocal pulse that strikes a chord deep inside each one of us. The lilting howls rise and fall while as one the flotilla of canoes is moving closer. The men paddling are all standing, easily balancing without the slightest appearance of difficulty, and with swift precise strokes this intimidating welcome party already has us surrounded and herds us to the shore. As we near the landing, the sing-song chanting starts to break down along with the coherency of our escort. Zodiacs and canoes are now all jumbled together providing up close and personal looks at the unique body and face paint that each man has adorned himself with. Once on land we are ushered in front of the long house where a truly unique ceremony takes place. Read More>

Oct 1, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Borneo & Indonesia

Santa Cruz Island

It was a cloudy morning when all of our guests landed on Santa Cruz Island and headed to the facilities of the Galapagos National Park and learn about one of the most successful and iconic programs on ecological restoration of the islands, the Giant Tortoise Rearing Center. While here we talked about all of the current projects that are happening and we photographed some of the reptiles. We soon boarded buses and headed to the highlands of Santa Cruz Island to enjoy a visit at a sugar cane press to experience the life of a local family and their lifestyle. Read More>

Sep 30, 2015 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

Palouse & Snake River, Washington

Another crystal clear day in eastern Washington.  This morning we find ourselves in the Palouse, where we witness an amazing display of the power of the ice age floods.  Before the Pleistocene, the ancestral Palouse River was farther north and paralleling the Snake River and then emptying directly into the Columbia River.  But then came the floods…stupendous floods…not one…not two but perhaps 100 of them.  Where did all this water come from?  From the giant continental glacier grinding away in Canada, a tongue of ice 2,000 feet thick dammed the Clark’s Fork River.  Eventually, a huge lake formed (Glacial Lake Missoula) but the ice dam became unstable and catastrophically collapsed releasing a flood of biblical proportions. The flood waters overtopped the ancestral Palouse Valley and found a route to the Snake River.  Racing water and ice scoured the land, ripping away blocks of basalt, sweeping up the soil and creating the scablands and the stunning Palouse Canyon.  And leaving the Palouse River’s old course abandoned and dry. While some of our guests went to see the Palouse Falls, others took an expedition landing craft cruise or a pleasant paddle in a kayak. Read More>

Sep 30, 2015 National Geographic Sea Lion in Pacific Northwest

La Chunga, Darien, Panama

Our last day in Panama started with a quiet morning at sea as National Geographic Explorer headed towards the easternmost portion of the country, the mighty Darien region. Completely covered by nearly impenetrable mangrove stands, extremely lush tropical rain forest, and rugged mountains, the Darien proved too much for the builders of the Pan-American Highway, and as a result this is the only place between Alaska and the southern end of Argentina where the road is interrupted. But before we got there we learned useful tips and information about expedition-style photography form our Lindblad-National Geographic certified photo instructor David Cothran and form National Geographic photographer Kike Calvo; they explained how we could improve our photography and take better advantage of our cameras. Read More>

Sep 30, 2015 National Geographic Explorer in South American West Coast

The Dalles & Maryhill

Today has been another exciting day aboard National Geographic Sea Bird, and we have reached the Columbia River. We started with a trip up the famous Oregon Scenic Highway to Rowena Crest. The panoramic views up and down the river were described as breathtaking. Between the red-tailed hawks calling from above, the Columbia River rolling on, and the switchbacks winding below, there was hardly a bad view to be had. Afterwards, we moved down to the Columbia River Gorge Discovery Center. Read More>

Sep 30, 2015 National Geographic Sea Bird in Pacific Northwest

Dragon Hill and Daphne Islet

Located at the center of Galapagos, Santa Cruz is the second largest island on the archipelago. After a short navigation early in the morning, we arrived to Dragon Hill, named in honor of one of the iconic endemic species of the islands, the land iguana.   It was a sunny and windy day, as we headed to the landing dock, observing some migratory birds and blue-footed boobies resting on the rocks along the shallows. Juvenile sea lions captivated our guests. Walking through the small forest of cacti, we observed their long thorns, used to protect them against predators such as iguanas and giant tortoises, found along this part of the island. We crossed the white beach, observing great blue herons and some marine iguanas warming up with the first beams of the day. As we travelled inland, the landscape changed dramatically as we arrived to a forest of stripped palo santo trees, having all shed their leaves, in order to avoid dehydration during the dry season. Behind the beach, two flamingos walked indifferently along the brackish lagoon, lowering their heads into the water and feeding on small crustaceans. Closer to the shore, black-necked stilts and some phalaropes walked along the mud catching small crabs. We finally arrived to the land iguana’s territory. Read More>

Sep 30, 2015 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

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