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Lastest Expedition Reports

Bartolome & Rabida Islands

Today we woke up anchored next to Bartolome Island which is a popular spot due to its volcanic landscapes. To better enjoy the scenery, we landed early in the morning before breakfast. As soon as we got on the trail it became clear why so many people come to this tiny group of islands. As Bartolome is a relatively new island, we found lava tunnels, spatter cones, cinder cones and tuff cones and not very much of wildlife. Once we reached the top of the island and saw the famous pinnacle rock, the choice to make this an early morning outing became quite obvious. Later we went on the island to explore the underwater world with the Zodiacs. Read More>

May 16, 2016 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

Inian Islands & Port Althrop

Early this morning National Geographic Sea Bird made her way into Idaho Inlet searching for smallish marine mammals.  Floating on the water watching the world open up to the morning, several Sea otters were spotted.  Life passing them as we were, in a grey on grey day with shades of dark green.  After a pre-breakfast cruise the National Geographic Sea Bird positioned to our morning anchorage in the Hobbit Hole. From this spot Zodiacs were launched in preparation for cruises through the Inian Passage. This island dotted passage located in Cross Sound at the most western area of our cruise in Alaska is home to tidal waters as deep as 20+ feet. Sea water rushes in and out of this narrow and constricted passage, filling the northern end of Southeast Alaska.  In this rush of tidal water upwelling brings enormous amounts of food to all predators, who are, of course, waiting.  Productivity is very high due to the sunlight hours and constant upwelling caused by tide changes.  Bald eagles, Steller sea lions, Sea otters, Humpback whales and many other sea birds all come to these nutrient rich waters to feast. Zodiacs left the fantail of the National Geographic Sea Bird and made their way out into a soft rain searching for whom ever might be on the hunt. Read More>

May 16, 2016 National Geographic Sea Bird in Alaska

Chatham Strait and Pavlof Harbor

This morning, we awoke to dramatic, layered clouds draped on the forested mountains of Peril Strait.  As we approached the Chatham Strait, the sun started to peek through – casting rays and spots of brilliant light on the waters around us.  We had two different humpback whale sightings during the morning, which perfectly coincided with the breaks before and after the briefings by our naturalists and Third Mate which focused on expedition landing craft and kayak operations, bear safety and hiking.  The humpbacks that joined us just before lunch slowly got closer and closer to the ship to where we were able to clearly view the blowholes just off the bow. During lunch, as the ship positioned to Pavlof Harbor, a call from the bridge came over the radios that there was a brown bear sow with cubs on our landing beach. Read More>

May 16, 2016 National Geographic Sea Lion in Alaska

Peril Strait

For our expedition team there's nothing better than having your expedition leader tell you that we're having an “expedition day” where we let the movements of wildlife entirely guide our plans in such an such place. Having left Sitka late last night our expedition leader, John Mitchell and Captain Andrew Cook had decided on putting our expedition experience to the test for the first full day here in Southeast Alaska. Peril Strait, a 40-mile-long passage leading us from Sitka and the open North Pacific to Chatham Strait to the east is fraught with difficult navigation and surrounded by amazing scenery. For the morning we visited a rarely explored area of Peril Strait called Krestof Sound and inside of that, De Groff Bay. Read More>

May 15, 2016 National Geographic Sea Bird in Alaska

Cliffs of Moher

The morning of the 15th of May broke with perfect, cloud-free blue skies and a stunning sunrise. The chilly northeast breeze did not deter the guests as they were out on deck in droves admiring the sun rising over the Irish coastline. The first of the fingers of the Cliffs of Moher were visible, with the distinctive Napoleonic watchtowers breaking the skyline atop the cliffs. The air was filled with the busy comings and goings of the gangs of guillemots, razorbills, and gannets. In amongst it all were the smaller and plumper Atlantic puffins, busily flapping their wings to get to their destination. One lucky observer spotted a minke whale from the dining room while eating breakfast! The morning outing was a Zodiac landing at Aran Mór, the largest of the Aran Islands and home to the Aran Sweater. Read More>

May 15, 2016 National Geographic Explorer in British & Irish Isles

Skelligs & Dingle, Co Kerry, Ireland

We awoke to a thick sea-mist, not at all sure that it would burn off in time for our scheduled cruise around the Lesser and Greater Skellig, two rocky outliers of County Kerry in the far west of Ireland. The former is one of the largest gannetries off the coast of Britain and Ireland ; the latter has the spectacular remains of a sixth-century Celtic monastic site, in continuous occupation from A.D. 588 to 1222. On the bridge, we heard our underwater specialist being carefully guided through the mist to her dive-site, so we would at least be sure to see, at a future date, what lay here beneath the surface of the ocean. Even as our expedition leader was at work on some creative re-scheduling of the morning’s activities, however, the mist miraculously cleared and Skellig Michael, the alternative name for the Greater Skellig, was revealed in all its glory, its cluster of corbelled bee-hive huts, garden terraces, and steep pathways clear to view. Christianity came to this part of the world at a remarkably early date. Read More>

May 14, 2016 National Geographic Explorer in British & Irish Isles

Genovesa Island

Genovesa is one of the living paradises of the Galapagos Islands and today we had a taste of it.  We began our expedition this morning with a wet landing at Darwin Bay beach in order to see all the wonders that the island had in store. As soon as we landed the marvels of Genovesa were exposed. Read More>

May 14, 2016 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

Ciutadella, Menorca

Serendipity - The faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident. Our day to explore Ciutadella, walking around the historic quarters surrounded by palaces, churches, and fortresses, was going as smoothly as planned. Read More>

May 14, 2016 National Geographic Orion in Europe aboard NG Orion

Lake Eva

The final day of our 15 day expedition brought us many surprises and plenty of activity. All of us seasoned Alaskan travelers feel as if we have falsely represented the normally cloudy state, for once again the weather was perfect and not a cloud in the sky. At 0700 people were wearing t-shirts up on the bow. The initial morning plans were slightly delayed when naturalist David Stevens adroitly spotted a small pod of orca off of Morris Reef during breakfast. With a quick radio call to Captain Sinclair, we soon found ourselves clutched out and waited as the pod headed straight towards us. There was only one large male and what appeared to be multiple very young orca hunting beside the matriarchs of the family. The National Geographic Sea Lion was clearly no threat to these magnificent creatures for they remained in close proximity for nearly an hour.  At one point four of them drifted along the entire length of the ship within a foot of the hull.  All the photographers were torn between focusing on detail shots of the orca or widening their lenses and incorporating the snow covered peaks and their reflections slightly disrupted from the orcas movements. The entire boat was eager for a walk to the beautiful Lake Eva and we split into multiple groups to head inland. Read More>

May 14, 2016 National Geographic Sea Lion in Alaska

Scilly Isles

One of the most memorable aspects of this British and Irish Isles expedition is how much the places we visit vary. Yesterday we were sailing into the narrow entrance of Fowey harbor in a shroud of early morning fog, and yet today we hopped into the Zodiacs and speeded toward Tresco Island in the Scilly Isles–all the while bathed in sunshine and with a backdrop of beaches more akin to a Caribbean postcard than a British Isles experience. The Scilly Isles lie off the southwest of the British coastline. Read More>

May 13, 2016 National Geographic Explorer in British & Irish Isles

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