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Cadiz and Seville, Spain

The clear light of a Spanish morning began our day with the promise of many wonderful opportunities for photography during our explorations of Andalusia.  Because Spain lies at the western edge of its time zone, the sun was still low in the sky when we disembarked, illuminating the centuries-old buildings and low towers of Cadiz with a rich golden light. Backlight, front light, and beautiful defining side light, shadows, reflections and silhouettes—everywhere we looked there were images, bold and delicate, waiting to be captured in our cameras. Alizé Carrère, our expedition leader, had planned a delightful day with a number of different options—a hallmark of the National Geographic Orion’s journeys through Europe this spring and summer. Read More>

Apr 26, 2016 National Geographic Orion in Europe aboard NG Orion

Portimao, Portugal

We started our lovely day at sea with some sightings of short-beaked common dolphins. The air was filled with seabirds, including the charismatic Northern gannet and one brief sighting of a great skua. In the afternoon we went ashore for many thrilling activities. Read More>

Apr 25, 2016 National Geographic Orion in Europe aboard NG Orion

The Beagle Channel, Argentina

“There’s something about three weeks…” - spoken this morning by a guest having coffee. Was it only 21 days ago that we sailed west in this same body of water, almost trembling with anticipation of what was to come? Have we really come this far in so short a time? Perhaps each wave we passed was a mark of time, as if the ocean had replaced clocks as our timekeeping piece. Read More>

Mar 6, 2016 National Geographic Orion in Antarctica

Carcass Island and New Island, Falkland Archipelago

Ian:  There are some mornings that just start out so pleasantly that words can’t capture it. How can you accurately describe and impart the way brisk sea air whips up the waves or the warmth of the much welcome sun greeting our faces? Eager to set out for adventure we landed on the picturesque Caribbean-like white sand beach with turquoise waters of Carcass Island.  We were greeted by a multitude of birds, so diverse it would be impossible to name them all. Tom:  National Geographic Orion arrived at Carcass Island at 0830. Read More>

Mar 5, 2016 National Geographic Orion in Antarctica

Stanley, The Falkland Islands

The Falkland Islands are 671km from Ushuaia, 1,550km from South Georgia, and as a British Overseas Territory, it is 12,978km from Great Britain. They’re surrounded by the South Atlantic Ocean in the midst of the furious fifties and home to the hefty South American sea lions, numerous characterful penguins including the rockhopper, Gentoo, and Magellanic, an abundance of albatross, a swathe of ducks and geese…and human beings! Walking along the shoreline of Stanley—the capital of the Falkland Islands—you can gaze out across the kelp strewn shore where the geese are rooting around for morsels of food toward the rugged rolling green hills. Read More>

Mar 4, 2016 National Geographic Orion in Antarctica

At Sea Between South Georgia And The Falkland Islands

We enjoyed a very pleasant day at sea as we continued westward towards our next port-o-call…Stanley. Although there was wind in our faces all day long, there were few whitecaps and only smallish waves with which to deal.  In fact, much of that wind in our faces was generated by our fast speed of nearly 14 knots.  The skies changed constantly throughout the day, as we sometimes had clear, blue skies, sometimes complete cloud cover, and in the late afternoon and into the evening we encountered thin fog (complete with a fog bow as the sun set directly in front of us). Only a few birds seemed interested in our vessel as we steamed along, but those of us who spent time on the aft deck did manage to see some interesting petrels and albatrosses crossing our substantial wake and prop wash that was left behind. Read More>

Mar 3, 2016 National Geographic Orion in Antarctica

At Sea: Scotia Sea

National Geographic Orion is back at sea, this time we are crossing the Scotia Sea on our way from South Georgia to the Falkland Islands (also known, to Argentinians, as Las Islas Malvinas). As we travel back against the Southern Ocean that perpetually flows clockwise, now opposite to our heading, we are greeted by relatively calm seas and we are making good time. We welcome the relaxing day, a break from our penguin and seal-filled days of South Georgia, and again use the time to reflect on the recent chapters of our journey. A day at sea is far from dull. Read More>

Mar 2, 2016 National Geographic Orion in Antarctica

Prince Olav Harbour and Elsehul Bay, South Georgia VIDEO

During breakfast, National Geographic Orion made her way deep inside Prince Olav Harbour.  This very narrow and scenic bay is located on the western shore of Possession Bay, where Captain James Cook claimed the land on behalf of his king, George III.  In fact, Cook’s description of the landing site chosen for the ceremony sounds very much like this very site.  At the time, Cook thought he had finally discovered the great Terra Australis Incognita (the Unknown Southern Continent), but soon realized the new land was simply a large island.  In 1911, a whaling station was set up here, but for the first few years all the processing of whale carcasses took place on a steam-powered factory ship called Restitution that was moored in the bay each summer. Read More>

Mar 1, 2016 National Geographic Orion in Antarctica

South Georgia

Maybe it’s the fact that February 29th doesn’t happen that often but today felt like a bonus. Something extra. Blue skies with a rainbow, whales and calm seas, chocolate sauce on ice cream. Maybe this is just how every day in South Georgia feels, to wake up with the grandiose mountains rising up right from sea level knowing that this place is truly special. This land is teeming with life, countless multitudes of birds, seething masses of fur seals and grasses so green they seem to glow. The latter may have something to do with the fact that the terrestrial color spectrum of the Antarctic Peninsula rarely departs from black, brown, grey and white and our eyes are still adjusting to the photosynthesizing pigmentation of the vascular plants that cover the slopes. While this environment looks so idyllically pristine it must be noted that it has been heavily altered and impacted by humans. Read More>

Feb 29, 2016 National Geographic Orion in Antarctica

Stromness & Grytviken, South Georgia VIDEO

This morning we awoke to another beautiful day in South Georgia and we were all adamant to make the most of it! Forty brave souls departed the ship just after breakfast, following in Ernest Shackleton’s footsteps hiking over a huge mountain range from Fortuna Bay to Stromness. Read More>

Feb 28, 2016 National Geographic Orion in Antarctica

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