Discover the Arctic
Photos of the Week, January 28, 2022
This week, our field staff sent a number of photos featuring interesting close-ups of details a first-time visitor might never think to capture, whether it's the folded flippers of a dozing crabeater seal or the tangled roots of a mangrove tree on the beach in Baja.
Daily expedition reports
National Geographic Sea Bird
We steamed south in the Hull Canal today, returning to Magdalena Bay. Along the way, we spotted the following: a gray whale cow and calf, dolphins riding our bow wake, coyotes on shore and various birds in the mangroves and mudflats. In the afternoon, we made our final landing on one of the narrowest parts of the peninsula, a small isthmus. With a short walk across the sand dunes, we arrived at the Pacific Ocean. We spent time on Sand Dollar Beach, which takes its name from the immense amount of sand dollars along the shore.
National Geographic Quest
We started with “Pura Vida” air, or the air of pure life. This was our first stop in Costa Rica on this expedition. We made it all the way to this country that houses 5% of the planet’s biodiversity. Saying goodbye to Panama was hard, but it is time to explore more on our journey. We anchored in Golfito, a little gulf inside a bigger gulf named Golfo Dulce. This explains why Costa Ricans are called “ticos”; we use diminutives in most of our conversations. We enjoyed the chance to explore the area. We split into two groups. One group took a Zodiac cruise inside the mangrove ecosystem, and another group kayaked from point A to point B. Both options gave guests the opportunity to learn about mangrove ecosystems, which have a lot to offer. We saw plenty of birds nesting, as well as a variety of different species of fish and mammals. Using the shelter of this impenetrable refugee, animals succeed in nursing their young until they are ready to take on the rest of the Neotropics. The mangroves never disappoint. Once we returned from the tours, everyone talked about their wildlife sightings. White-faced capuchins, yellow-throated toucans, sea turtles and yellow-headed caracaras all joined us this morning. After lunch onboard, we landed in “Rio Seco,” also known as the dry river. This site offers an incredible example of what reforestation can do to land. Once used for cacao plantations and cattle 30 years ago, the area now hosts a consolidated secondary forest. The forest shares boundaries with the protected areas of a national park. We saw scarlet macaws, squirrel monkeys, orchids, beautiful gardens, fruit trees and frogs. Heat in the early afternoon gave way to a cool and refreshing breeze before dusk. The day was a total success. A visit to the heavy rainforest in one of the planet’s most biodiverse regions is always special. Looking forward to see what we experience tomorrow.
National Geographic Explorer
A visit to the Antarctic is packed with legends. This morning, we awoke in sight of Elephant Island, the location where the men of th e Endurance awaited rescue through the Antarctic winter at the beginning of the 20th century. Snow accumulated on deck as National Geographic Explorer made its way through a stiff cold breeze. We imagined the James Caird setting out into the Southern Ocean. It was a humbling reminder of the rigors of the Golden Age of Antarctic exploration and the people who risked their lives pushing boundaries at the bottom of the world. As we approached the bay where the seamen of the ill-fated Endurance awaited rescue, katabatic winds reaching 70 knots buffeted the ship. This was but the smallest preview of what those men endured as they awaited salvation, and it was fierce. Setting a course east, we traversed active waters. Seabirds were abundant, some passing by at a distance whilst others circled our ship. These ocean wanderers, at home in the gales of the high latitudes, always impress us by making a home in such an adverse climate. We counted many a whale blow in the distance. While passing over a seamount, several whales swam close enough to give us quite the show. A pair of fin whales surfaced near the ship long enough for everyone to get incredible views. From the upper decks, we looked down upon these massive animals and tried to picture just how huge they actually are. Despite the challenging conditions out on deck, we managed to stay cozy and dry aboard. Throughout the day, our staff offered presentations about Shackleton’s voyages and the cetaceans of our voyage. The galley kept us warm and happy with delicious drinks and snacks between the typical incredible meals. The day wrapped up with our usual recap before dinner as we steamed toward the eastern horizon and looked forward to another day at the bottom of the world.
National Geographic Endeavour II
Our day began with a pre-breakfast climb on Bartholomew Island, where we had the chance to learn about geological features like cinder cones and tuff cones. There are lava flows that date back about 200 years. We enjoyed a snorkeling activity in the same area. Then we moved the ship to another islet called Chinese Hat. We had the option to snorkel or ride in a dinghy to see some Galapagos penguins.
Sven-Olof LindbladView our story