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Portsmouth, England

It is not an exaggeration to say that Portsmouth is one of the most important port towns in human history.

May 13, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in British & Irish Isles

Bruges, Belgium

We arrived at the port of Ostende early in the morning. The morning was overcast and the temperature was 51 degrees Farenheit. We had an early breakfast and departed the ship for Bruges, one of the finest examples of an intact medieval city in all of Europe. Bruges appears on first glance more like a fairytale than an active modern city, which it emphatically is.  

The modern city was begun by Baldwin Count of Flanders as a fortified dwelling place.

May 11, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Holland & Belgium

Ghent, Belgium

Ghent is a classic example of what draws people to the cities of northern Europe. Despite it being a city that is very much active, modern and alive, the legacy of its mediaeval golden age is still present in every corner of the old town. Spires and stone towers dominate the skyline, and cobblestones are almost always underfoot.

In the morning, many of us chose to enter the city by Zodiac, past a lock and into the canals.

May 10, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Holland & Belgium

Antwerp, Belgium

This morning we continued our visit to the Low Countries as we left The Netherlands and sailed up the river Scheldt to Antwerp. Antwerp is the second largest city in Belgium after the capital, Brussels, and it is part of the Flemish-speaking region of Belgium. Flemish is, they like to say, a different way of speaking Dutch and separates the inhabitants from the French-speaking population in the south of Belgium. 

On the way up the river we enjoyed talks on the water management expertise in the Netherlands, which allows it to be the second-largest exporter of agricultural products in the world after the U.

May 9, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Holland & Belgium

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Our explorations of the charming city of Amsterdam began this morning with a canal cruise.

May 8, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Holland & Belgium

Texel and Den Helder, The Netherlands

Amazing times are to be had when one leaves the beaten track and ventures further afield. Few itineraries lead one down a trail slipping between the mud flats of the Waddenzee, following narrow and winding channels where most large vessels fear to go. It is quite possible only a minority outside of the European World realize that a treasure nestles here at the edge of the sea.  

One wonders how a huge intertidal system can exist appearing undisturbed and yet so touched by the hand of man.

May 7, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Holland & Belgium

Harlingen, Friesland, Netherlands VIDEO

We had steamed through the night and into the early afternoon to reach our first destination in the Low Countries.  The morning found us just outside of the Wadden Sea, a shallow protected body of water connected to the North Sea, significant in many ways and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  It’s known for its biological diversity with an astonishing abundance of bird life and a complex system of islands, wetlands and rich marine life.  In total it comprises the world’s largest intact system of intertidal sand and mud flats.  It's these shallow tidal flats and accompanying dunes and islands that also makes navigation through these waters challenging.  Thankfully, centuries of maritime history here have left a well-charted course for us to navigate.   

As we neared the outer bank and largest islands in the Wadden Sea we began seeing evidence of the bird life in the form of large flocks of gulls, terns and ducks.

May 6, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Holland & Belgium

Beagle Channel and Ushuaia, Argentina

The shelter of the Beagle Channel was a welcome change from the stormy seas that we had been sailing through in the last three days.

Mar 23, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Antarctica

Approaching South America

The Southern Ocean and Scotia Sea are well known for the winds and seas that define their character.

Mar 22, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Antarctica

Scotia Sea

We continued our journey through the Scotia Sea towards the Falkland Islands.

Mar 21, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Antarctica

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