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South Plaza Island & Santa Fe Island

We woke up to a nice breeze along the coast of South Plaza Island.  After a dry landing, we continued walking up through a trailed covered with some colorful land iguanas.  In fact, this was first time we were able to see them in the wild. This small island is flat and decorated with red succulents, a prickly pear forest and many interesting endemic species along the coast.  The population of land iguanas we found is up to the a few hundreds, so we saw males, females and some juveniles. Also in the middle of the trail there was a special colony of sea lions which is only used by bachelor or male sea lions. Red billed tropic birds were flying over the cliffs and just giving us quite a photographic show captured with our cameras. The National Geographic Islander navigated to the second island visiting for the day- Santa Fe. Read More>

Apr 28, 2016 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

Malaga & Granada

Today we enjoyed sunrise at the beautiful city of Malaga. Our expedition to Alfarnatejo started with a brief city tour, but soon enough we headed north, into the Andalusian Mountains. After passing by a centenary cemetery, we crossed olive groves and cherry orchards, stopping for a “carajillo” (a traditional coffee and liquor mixture) at a local bar. Wildlife wise, some birds were spotted on the way: kestrels, doves, larks, sparrows, and a beautiful red-rumped swallow. Read More>

Apr 28, 2016 National Geographic Orion in Europe aboard NG Orion

Santa Cruz Island

Our day began at Cerro Dragon, on the north-western coast of Santa Cruz Island, where we had a closer encounter with the endemic land iguanas. Considering that the population of land iguanas was strongly affected by humans in the last century, this was a great opportunity to witness the effects of a long-term conservation program led by the Galapagos National Park in coordination with the Charles Darwin Research Station. If we had visited this site back in the 1970s, we would have witnessed a combination of feral dogs, cats, donkeys and cattle. Nowadays, feral dogs and cattle have been eliminated, which allowed the Galapagos National Park Service to reintroduce a group of land iguanas, who have now successfully repopulated the area. Today we learned about the constant challenges of controlling invasive species, and how local and international experts are constantly improving their techniques for such a monumental task. This visit also gave us the chance to explore a wonderful beach of white sand, where various shore birds were spotted, including sandpipers, American oystercatchers and sanderlings. After such a great start to the day, it was time for a deep water snorkeling outing at Guy Fawkes Island. Read More>

Apr 27, 2016 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Santa Cruz Island

With a clear sky we anchored at Santa Cruz Island. It has the largest population of the Galapagos with close to 30.000 people, that’s about fifty percent of the total population of the islands. It also holds the main headquarters of the Galapagos National Park and the Charles Darwin Research Station. During the morning we visited the breeding center for the Giant tortoises next to the Darwin Station. There we learned a little more about the process these animals go through to avoid extinction. Their numbers decreased drastically since the 17th century when people discovered they can survive months or years without food or water; that turned them into a very convenient source of meat onboard sailing vessels. We found the Giants alone and in groups, and observed all kinds of tortoise behavior in captivity, including mating. Afterwards we had some time to enjoy on our own and the opportunity to experience the lifestyle of the townspeople. Read More>

Apr 27, 2016 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

Puerto Ayora and Highlands, Santa Cruz Island

Today our natural quest became more colorful and vibrant. We awoke this morning to a mysterious and intriguing fog—this is due to the inversion layer that results from differences in the temperatures of the ocean and the air. This is why the Galapagos Islands have been referred to as the Enchanted Islands, as they seem to disappear at times due to this heavy fog.  After breakfast, we disembarked to explore Santa Cruz, an island with an area of 986 square kilometers (381 sq. mi) and a maximum altitude of ~ 900 meters (3,000 ft). Situated in the center of the archipelago, Santa Cruz is the second largest island and its main village Puerto Ayora is the most populated urban center in the archipelago. Read More>

Apr 26, 2016 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Floreana Island

Today we decided to go on land before breakfast. As we began our walk we encountered a brackish water lagoon with some pink flamingos standing out in the foggy morning.  We observed Greater flamingoes in the brackish water lagoon as well as white-cheeked pintail ducks, and several finches flying around looking for food. Soon we arrived at a white sandy beach which is a dense green sea turtle nesting ground. Read More>

Apr 26, 2016 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

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

Floreana Island

We are in the Galapagos Islands, embarking on the trip of a life time aboard the National Geographic Endeavour. Today we visited the very popular Floreana Island. This island was occupied by whalers centuries ago when the industrial revolution in Europe and North America had just begun. Hundreds of vessels used Floreana as a supplies’ stop, and used its waters for whaling. This was also the first island to be inhabited by Ecuadorians, and soon it became the capital of the Galapagos. We started the day very early with a hike at the visitor site called Punta Cormorant. Read More>

Apr 25, 2016 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Española Island

Española Island is one of the Crown jewels of the Galapagos Archipelago.  Our journey started at one of the iconic places of the Galapagos, Gardner Bay.  The best way to begin our exploration was to go deep water snorkeling in order to witness the wonders of the Galapagos marine reserve.  Once in the water a marvelous underwater world was revealed, full of a variety of beautiful fish.  There were Damselfish on lava rocks, razor surgeonfish swimming, and playful baby Galapagos sea lions accompanied us during the excursion.  As soon as we came back the National Geographic Islander it was time to explore the sandy area found at Gardner Bay. Read More>

Apr 25, 2016 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

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

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Please note: All Daily Expedition Reports (DER's) are posted Monday-Friday, during normal business hours.

 

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