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Pacaya River & Zapote River

Today’s Amazon exploration brought us to one of the farthest points of the Ucayali River: The Pacaya River. This tributary is a mosaic of wildlife, and a comfortable skiff ride was the perfect way to begin exploration. A combination of snowy and great egrets were found along the edges of the stream. Horn screamers looked perfect for photo opportunities as they perched on top of the bushes. Large billed terns always looked ready to catch fish from the surface. A mixture of cocoi herons, Jabiru wood storks, and neo-tropic cormorants painted the jungle with delightful wildlife. Read More>

Aug 28, 2015 Delfin II in Amazon

San Cristobal Island

Located at the easternmost point of the archipelago, San Cristobal is one of the oldest islands with unique flora and fauna, where we viewed a great number of sea birds, including the three species of boobies: Nazca, red and blue footed boobies. Traveling and visiting Fernandina in the west to San Cristobal Island in the east was an expedition and a journey of discovery through time. Today we landed on a green olivine beach. Read More>

Aug 28, 2015 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Philpots Island, Arctic Canada

Northward; ever northward, into the white unknown.  Returning down Lancaster Sound, National Geographic Explorer rounded the corner of Devon Island and pointed toward the midnight sun. Read More>

Aug 28, 2015 National Geographic Explorer in Arctic

Santa Cruz Island

We have been several days from civilization, immersed in pristine environments where endemic animals and plants live.  Today we are in Academy Bay on Santa Cruz Island which is home to the biggest city in the Galapagos- Puerto Ayora which has the largest human settlement in the archipelago.  Santa Cruz is about 2.5 million years old and is tall enough to intercept the low cloud cover resulting from the inversion layer caused by cool ocean temperatures which lies over the area during much of the year.  Due to the hilly highlands of this old volcano, it is typically smothered under a blanket of a thick moisture-filled cloud. Although straddling the equator, the cool waters that bathe the stark coastlines here create very dry conditions in most of the archipelago, with differential precipitation depending on altitude and the direction the flanks of the volcanos are facing. We disembarked on the main town dock in the busy port town of Puerto Ayora. Read More>

Aug 28, 2015 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

Endicott Arm

We awoke to a drizzly morning, but that wasn’t going to stop the guests aboard the National Geographic Sea Bird from exploring Endicott Arm—the southern branch of Holkham Bay. As we made our way past vertical granite walls down the 30 mile fjord, we noticed the icebergs getting more abundant. Shortly after breakfast we saw a blue hue at the end of the fjord—Dawes glacier! The expedition landing craft were lowered and loaded and the guests, bundled in multiple layers of rain gear, set off for a close-up view of the glacier. The air was still and calm and was only interrupted by the intermittent white thunder of the calving glacier. Harbor seals roamed the surrounding water and curiously poked their heads above the surface to view our boats. The rain continued on through the afternoon, but so did the hunger for one last Southeast Alaskan adventure. Read More>

Aug 28, 2015 National Geographic Sea Bird in Alaska

Colp Lake and Petersburg

The night sky continued to shower down upon Southeast Alaska, as the sun rose on a grey-on-grey day with shades of dark green. National Geographic Sea Lion was making her way down Fredrick Sound heading toward our morning anchorage at the Colp Lake forest trail.  Colp Lake is located on the northeast side of Kupreanof Island, reminding us of the nickname for Southeast Alaska, the “land of a thousand islands.”  Our day would be spent cruising in and around many, many islands that make up the Alexander Archipelago, a broader name given to the geography that makes up Southeast Alaska. The rain, a critical part of the coastal temperate rainforest that covers these islands, fell softly throughout the day. It filled the rivers, ran through the forests, and over and through our bog walk...all showing the richness and the beauty of a land diverse in plant ecosystems, animals, and people who share it all!  Without the rain none of this would exist. So, we embraced our day of walks, Zodiac rides and exploration all done in this day of steady soft rain.  Early this morning a strong group of hearty souls adventured out into the weather, and walked the shores, the inner edge of the forest, and the Colp Lake trail. Read More>

Aug 28, 2015 National Geographic Sea Lion in Alaska

Butrint & Sarande

We have now bid farewell to Greece and continue our journey into the fascinating country of Albania. Known to Albanians as Shqiperia, or Land of the Eagles, this mountainous country has been ruled by the Romans, the Ottoman Turks, and, in the late 20th century, a Communist dictatorship. Today, Albania is a developing democratic country littered with physical reminders of its complex history, from archaeological sites to communist-era bunkers. Our first destination is the archaeological site of Butrint, a UNESCO World Heritage site with well-preserved remnants of the city’s 2,000-year history, from Hellenistic walls to an ornate Byzantine baptistery. Read More>

Aug 28, 2015 Sea Cloud in Mediterranean

Komodo National Park

"Here be dragons!" Such words were written into the corners of old mariner's maps, hidden on the edges of the known world beyond which monsters both magnificent and terrible lay, creatures of nightmares that only the brave and foolhardy would seek out. Today we know that dragons don't really exist, right? Surely not the mythical, fire-breathing versions of our most fanciful tales? Fortunately not, perhaps, but that doesn't mean that the wondrous creatures that probably inspired them—at least in part--can't still be found. Today National Geographic Orion sailed into Komodo National Park to visit a group of islands upon which dragons really do still exist. Read More>

Aug 28, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Pacific Islands & Australia

Dorado and Pacaya Rivers

We have traveled all night with the sole idea to immerse ourselves deeper into the reserve. It is early in the morning and we are ready to board the skiffs for our first excursion of the day. El Dorado River is a section of the Ucayali that not everyone gets to visit, therefore the isolation makes the area a natural delight. As we made our way into the river we observed that the water level is unusually low; this will prevent us from getting into sections of the river that we normally would go in high water, but to our advantage the dryness of the area is exposing animals that we can only dream to see during high water. This is the case of both spectacle and black caimans, which were encountered basking on the mud banks along the river edges. Our skillful skiff drivers got us really close to the animals which were quite calm, but you can tell their calmness was only a disguise for possible preys which could walk “right to their mouths” and become the caiman’s breakfast! Speaking of breakfast, we had a real treat this morning! The crew members on board the Delfin II had prepared a “picnic style” breakfast to be served on board the skiffs. Read More>

Aug 27, 2015 Delfin II in Amazon

Santa Cruz Island

We have spent the last few days exploring the central and western realms of the Galapagos Islands, during which time we have experienced wildlife encounters that surpassed our wildest expectations. Unforgettable sightings during nature walks, Zodiac rides and from the ship have included frigate birds courting, blue-footed boobies and flightless cormorants nesting, hawks hunting, adorable displays of mother-pup tenderness between sea lions and record numbers of cetaceans (orca, common dolphin, Bryde’s whales and even a total of six blue whales!). The sense of wonder and exhilaration among our fellow travellers, spanning several generations this week, has been palpable and contagious and continues to run strong. During our expeditions we want our guests to get an appreciation for the whole picture, and as such, experience that the human aspect of the Galapagos is vital. Read More>

Aug 27, 2015 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

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