Daily Expedition Reports

Daily reports from our days in the field

  • 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
  • At Sea, from the Falklands to Argentina

    The morning broke fine with soon verified rumors of a sunrise green flash… a rare event, indeed, one that requires patience, determination and more than a little stubbornness to experience! As day follows night, a breeze blows from the west, against the bow of National Geographic Explorer… a green flash behind us, a fresh breeze before us, the past and the future, a doorway really, change, the end of one thing and the beginning of another. Read More

    • Mar 22, 2016
    • National Geographic Explorer in Antarctica
  • Stanley on East Falkland Islands

    Today we returned to the Falkland Islands on National Geographic Explorer. When we were last here, we visited the islands north of West Falkland Island, but this time through we made our way to East Falkland and came alongside at Stanley, the islands’ capital. Stanley is a decidedly British town. Union Jacks wave patriotically at passers-by from homes with quaint English gardens. Bartenders pull proper pints for patrons in wee neighbourhood pubs. Even the heath and peat that blanket the surrounding hills evoke memories of the craggy moorlands far to the north. But of course, Stanley has a flavour all of its own—the colourful houses are made of painted “wriggly” (corrugated) iron, Land Rovers replace Fiats, and upon closer inspection, the heath reveals itself to be diddledee and deliciously sweet tea berries, plants unique to these southern latitudes. There were many activities to engage in while in town. Read More

    • Mar 21, 2016
    • National Geographic Explorer in Antarctica
  • Crossing the Scotia Sea en route to the Falkland Islands

    Steadying ourselves as we swing and sway through the corridors was becoming a honed art for many of us this morning. Perhaps we’re still not managing it gracefully, but we are getting to know the rolling swell of the Southern Ocean and when to walk, stop, hold on, or just lie down! Indeed we are perplexed by the abilities of the crew who seem to float across the ship with their hands laden with trays and plates, glasses, and jugs—and not even bat an eyelid. As the coffee was being poured and the eggs fried this morning we were happy to find the swell had in fact dissipated greatly since the previous evening. Read More

    • Mar 20, 2016
    • National Geographic Explorer in Antarctica
  • Southern Ocean Crossing

    After leaving South Georgia we knew there would be a two-day crossing to the protection of the Falkland Islands and the capital Stanley. As the southern travelling season heads towards equinox, equal night, it means that the summer weather will change quickly in the Southern Ocean. The winds were fast and changeable which made for a confused sea state. The benefit for those awake and alert was a chance to see the great seabirds of the Southern Ocean make their living in the winds and waves. Read More

    • Mar 19, 2016
    • National Geographic Explorer in Antarctica
  • Hercules Bay & at Sea toward Port Stanley

    Sheets of vertical rain hurtled across Hercules Bay in strong winds as the ship weighed anchor prior to our departure. However it might be better to go back to the start of our last day in South Georgia. Read More

    • Mar 18, 2016
    • National Geographic Explorer in Antarctica
  • Salisbury Plain & Prion Island

    With the ship wreathed in heavy fog, we boarded Zodiacs ahead of the dawn for an early morning landing at Salisbury Plain. The fog was cold but incredibly atmospheric in the morning gloom. Cruising towards the beach, we were greeted by hordes of king penguins and fur seals all whipping through the blue water near the shore and accompanying us all the way up the beach to the lifejacket station. The all-enveloping fog occasionally cleared to give us tantalizing glimpses of snow-covered mountains beyond. Those who braved the early start were rewarded with their first experience of South Georgia’s second largest penguin colony, home to over 200,000 pairs of majestic king penguins. After the cold and early start, breakfast and hot coffee was a necessity for most of us. Read More

    • Mar 17, 2016
    • National Geographic Explorer in Antarctica
  • Stromness and Grytviken Video

    Retracing but a few of the steps Sir Ernest Shackleton and his men took on their perilous and lifesaving crossing of South Georgia is a poignant moment. To imagine what these men endured while crossing this frigid and unforgiving ice dominated landscape is entirely impossible. We can never truly understand the drive and motivation that enabled these men to endure the trek with not only their own survival at stake, but also the survival of the men left on the opposite shores of South Georgia and their men left back on Elephant Island. One can only suppose that a large part of Shackleton’s resilience came from his commitment to his men and their survival. Witnessing and experiencing the final leg of this epic journey from Fortuna Bay to Stromness will be a highlight of the voyage for many of us and indeed a highlight of our travels in years to come. Read More

    • Mar 16, 2016
    • National Geographic Explorer in Antarctica
  • Gold Harbor & Drygalski Fjord Video

    The day began early and rightly so. Gold Harbor earns its name from its location, holding the southeast corner of South Georgia where the first light of the sun often breaks through to paint the hanging glacier upon the mountainside. Boasting the third largest king penguin colony upon the archipelago, our guests were delighted to set foot upon its shores. Navigating the myriad of Antarctic fur seals and elephant seals, we all journeyed through the dense aggregation of life. Though the first light was obscured by clouds, the sun would not be denied, eventually coming out to paint the colony, but often on South Georgia with clear skies comes harsh winds. Though all seemed well upon the shore, large sprits of salt water were rising toward the sky on the horizon, an indication of what was to come. Wisely, our expedition leader called all back to the Zodiacs and just in time—for soon came winds gusting over 50 knots. Heading away from the colony, the captain sought protection in nearby Drygalski Fjord—a magnificently high walled revelation of geological activity. Read More

    • Mar 15, 2016
    • National Geographic Explorer in Antarctica
  • Right Whale Bay, South Georgia

    Throughout the morning, we continued riding towards South Georgia with tailwinds. This island became the epicenter for the Antarctic whaling when Captain C. A. Larsen established his whaling station at Grytviken in November 1904. So, it was very appropriate to have a presentation around the theme of whaling. It can be a controversial subject, but do recall that in the heyday of whaling, parts of whales were of great use in many different aspects of society. Read More

    • Mar 14, 2016
    • National Geographic Explorer in Antarctica

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