Daily Expedition Reports

Browse photos & daily reports sent from the field every day

704 Daily Expedition Report(s) match your criteria
  • At Sea Towards The Falkland Islands

    There was something hearteningly comforting about awakening on board National Geographic Orion this morning: over the past couple of days we have all travelled thousands of miles to reach the ship. Whether from the Americas, Australasia, Europe or Asia - all of us appreciated our 8:00 a.m. breakfast and a relaxed morning spent getting acquainted with our new home.  Our voyage ahead on board National Geographic Orion is undoubtedly an exciting prospect. Read More

    • Oct 25, 2016
    • National Geographic Orion in Antarctica
  • Ile D’Aix and La Rochelle

    Today was the last day of this voyage and as per usual it was jam packed with exciting activities to make sure it would be one to remember. Early morning all of us jumped on a tender to be transported ashore to the lovely Ile D’Aix. Read More

  • Belle Isle

    Lying off the Quiberon peninsula south of Lorient, Belle Isle is the largest of the many coastal islands that lie off the coast of Brittany. Its name speaks to the interest taken by tourists to the island in modern times, for the island combines rugged cliffs (la côte sauvage) with sandy beaches (les grands sables). Inhabited since the Bronze Age, the island was settled by a community of Britons from a tribe known to the Romans as the Veneti; the earlier name for the islands was Vindilis in Latin, or Guedel in Breton. The strategic position off a coastline with a series of important harbours soon caught the eye of Louis XIV, and his celebrated military engineer Vauban was employed to build defensive fortifications which continue to dominate approaches to the island. Read More

  • Douarnenez and Locronon, Brittany, France

    Dawn came late this morning in this westernmost extremity of France, the first fingers of light not creeping over the horizon until 7.30am. Overnight our course took us along the north coast and around the tip of Brittany, as the bright beam from the Finisterre lighthouse illuminated the darkness. As we sailed on, further light was cast upon historical and cultural aspects of our travels in a series of morning presentations, first about the phenomenon of medieval pilgrimage, then the significance of the French Revolution. Read More

  • St Malo and Mont St Michel, France

    Some of us who strolled past the historic gates of old St Malo this afternoon might have been struck by the fact that the town’s flag was flying above the black and white striped “Gwenn ha Du” of Brittany, the familiar red, white and blue tricolour of France and the gold stars on blue of the European Union. This was no accident, for such is the historic independence of St Malo that it obtained this unique privilege in bygone times. The inhabitants of St Malo were a seafaring people with global reach, more “Malouins” than Breton or French, their fisherman giving their name in French to the Falkland Islands where they established an early settlement, “Les Malouines”. This name crossed over into Spanish as “Las Malvinas”. At the other end of the Atlantic, it was a local boy, Jacques Cartier, who first sailed from St Malo to Canada in the sixteenth century. Buried in the town’s cathedral, he is commemorated by a fine statue looking out to sea from the town’s ramparts which were lovingly restored following the destruction of the old city in the closing months of the Second World War, a symbolic act that typified the characteristic pride of the “Malouins” in their town. Our morning was devoted to a visit of one of the marvels of European mediaeval architecture, Mont St Michel, just over the border from Brittany in the neighbouring province of Normandy. Read More

  • Normandy, D-Day Beaches, Bayeux, France

    After a day spent exploring the battle torn coast of Normandy, one would be forgiven for considering humans to be an invasive species. We started the morning with a visit to the Bayeux Tapestry, which portrays the Norman invasion of England in 1066. Our afternoon was spent traveling to sites that commemorated an assault from the opposite direction: the Allied forces attack on German positions during the infamous D-Day operation of 1944. Nearly 1000 years separate these two important historical events, yet our journey revealed some common threads (pun intended).  It turns out; the Bayeux Tapestry is not a tapestry at all. Read More

  • Honfleur and Étretat, France

    France smiled upon us with sunshine for our first full day as we sailed across the English Channel, the smudge of Normandy coastline on the horizon growing more distinct throughout the morning. After breakfast, we were treated to a talk by National Geographic photographer Gianluca Colla, who will be helping us over the next week to be our own best image-makers. While some photographers focus on one type of photo—portraits, say, or wildlife—Gianluca’s are wonderfully varied. His work brings us to the heart of everything, from his family’s warm and lively home in the Swiss mountains, to the cover of National Geographic magazine. In his beautifully illustrated talk, we traveled with nuns sequestered behind a spiky wrought iron fence in Bergamo; mummies (6000 of them!) in a cave in Sicily; and spiders—whose brains, as we learned, age in the same way as the human brain, and whose powerful webs make for stunning photos. One of the most poignant parts of Gianluca’s talk involved his photographs of the working poor—those who, despite working hard every day at grim jobs, cannot meet their basic needs. These moving portraits were images of humanity such as we rarely see.  My own talk followed, entitled simply “French Food. Read More

  • Brugge, Belgium

    Our streak of good weather continued into this morning as we disembarked at the port of Ostende under blue skies. From here it was a short half hour ride through the Belgian countryside to the city of Brugge (or Bruges, to use its French name). Considered something of a fairytale town with its canals, bridges, cobbled streets and churches, Bruges made its name as a merchant town and became extremely wealthy in the latter stages of the mediaeval period. We began with a walking tour following our arrival, beginning at the outskirts of the city and gradually making our way in through the beguinage, passing a large group of the town’s iconic swans. Once we made it to the town centre we boarded canal boats, the only vessels legally allowed to travel on its narrow canal system. From here we saw the city from a perspective not typically afforded to guests who remain on the streets, with many striking old buildings rising straight up from the waters. Balconies and various protruding structures overhang the canals, creating something of a cozy feeling in its crowdedness. After disembarking we continued to the town’s famous market square and went from there to lunch in 't Zwart Huis (The Black House). We had a typically Belgian meal of shellfish bisque and traditional Flanders stew. After this the group split. A number went cycling out in the local countryside while others enjoyed a chocolate making workshop. Others still opted to explore the alcoves, nooks and crannies of the city on their own. A sunny day in this iconic European city marked a perfect end to our exploration of Europe’s low countries before continuing on to our final destination of London, England.. Read More

  • Antwerp and Brussels, Belgium

    Ever since passing through the Kiel Canal on Monday, we have been travelling through the region of Europe known as the Low Countries.  Today this usually refers to the modern states of Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands (the Benelux countries), but the term has been in use for many centuries, long before these nations were named and their borders defined (of course the old name persists in the Netherlands, which means, literally, lowlands). In modern world affairs these are small nations, generally peripheral to the greater scope of geopolitics, but in the past the Low Countries were an important center of great art, a sponsor of many early voyages of exploration, the hub of the world’s first great financial network and a pivotal point in the great political and religious wars that swept across the continent for five centuries. Read More

  • Amsterdam

    As we cruised gently down the canals of Amsterdam, our guide explained, in her typically direct Dutch manner, that these beautiful, iconic waterways are like a toilet. Every day they are filled with the detritus of a major city… litter, random bicycles that fall from the sides of the canals and more. And every night, the locks are opened in a way that flushes out the dirty water and lets in the clean.   I am part Dutch, lived in Amsterdam for a year of my life and have a fluent understanding of the language, but the flushing fact was just one of many new things I learned about Amsterdam today. Read More

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