Daily Expedition Reports

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Lastest Expedition Reports

  • East Cape | Baja California Sur

    This morning National Geographic Sea Lion departed from La Paz town, capital of the state of Baja California Sur, to get the now-famous Cabo Pulmo, a once quaint fishing community turned marine preserve some 25 years ago. Cabo Pulmo is now a worldwide example of protection of marine resources and of sustainable tourism, all made by the local inhabitants. Our group of guests in this trip is a rare but important admixture of conservationists composed of local citizens, ranch owners, fishermen, NGO’s representatives and local authorities. They came aboard to discuss several ways to contribute to the conservation of other places in what now is called the Eastern Cape (Cabo del Este), the eastern littoral of the Municipality of Los Cabos, threatened by the uncontrolled development of big-scale tourist facilities, and replicate the Cabo Pulmo experience.

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  • Cape Horn, Chile

    Cape Horn is a small island at the southern tip of Tierra del Fuego. This notorious point marks the southernmost point of South America, a graveyard for many mariners of wooden sailing ships. “I am the albatross who awaits you at the end of the world,” wrote Sara Vial in 1992. Today the poem, written in a marble slab by the monument, that reveals the silhouette of a wandering albatross, honors all those fearless souls, that unsuccessfully tried to round the cape.

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  • La Paz

    With an approaching storm, the city of La Paz offered the perfect protective anchorage and exploration point for today. The city, with just over a quarter million inhabitants, is one of the Baja’s largest and most vibrant cities with a rich history in fishing. Throughout the day, The Bay of La Paz and the malecon offered an exciting backdrop for guests as they met to discuss the conservaiton successes of places like Cabo Pulmo and what needs to be done to replicate this framework throughout the Sea of Cortez. After these productive meetings and presentatons, everyone got the chance to top off the day with one of La Paz’s gems – ice cream from the waterfront’s La Fuente.

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  • Garibaldi Fjord, Chile

    Today was a truly fantastic day for our expedition. After arriving in the morning to the Garibaldi Glacier we left National Geographic Orion to explore the ice face and the fjord in the Zodiacs. It did not take us long to realize that this is a remarkable place not only due to the advancing glacier that calves into the fjord, but also to the surrounding forest of nothofagus or southern beech trees that grow all the way to the edge of the ice and snow. Along the steep walls of the fjord, a large number of waterfalls cascade into the water, contributing to the presence of glacial flour or finely ground stone that gives the water almost a milky appearance. We were not only taken aback by the imposing glacier wall and its stunning blue colour, but driving through the brash ice of the fjord allowed us to experience this place with all our senses: the sound of the ice being pushed by the Zodiacs, the water falling from the heights of the stone walls into the fjord, and the thundery sound of the calving glacier really added a new dimension to the whole experience.

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  • Nauta Creek, San Francisco Village

    We started this morning with a 5:30 AM wake-up call to board the skiffs and explore Nauta Creek before breakfast. Along our way, we passed a ranger station where local villagers work to protect their environment from overfishing and logging. We’ve seen these stations throughout the Pacaya-Samiria Reserve, along with signage and other attempts to maintain the unique environment. At this ranger station, workers gave us about 80 baby sea turtles to release deeper into the reserve. These workers collect sea turtle eggs to protect and incubate them until the turtles hatch to ensure they will be around for future generations. We all had the opportunity to place these wiggly babies into the creek. On our way back to the ship, we stopped to watch several squirrel monkeys playing and leaping among trees. We had seen them before, but not so many and not so clearly that we could enjoy their sport.

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  • San Cristobal Island

    Today we woke up in the eastern most point of the Galapagos Archipelago, San Cristobal Island. We were in search of very peculiar birds with red feet – red-footed boobies! We began with a hike in Punta Pitt, a tuff cone mountain where red-footed boobies nest. As we hiked, we also encountered blue-footed boobies nesting right on our trail. For guests that preferred more relaxed red-footed booby watching a Zodiac ride along Punta Pitt was offered.

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  • Stromness Bay

    This morning National Geographic Explorer approached its intended morning landing at Prion Island only to find a plethora of feisty fur seals lining the beach. Unable to come ashore, we instead opted for Plan B and made our way towards Fortuna Bay where the ship dropped off 47 walkers for the long Shackleton hike. It’s not very often that we have an opportunity for the ship to drop us off at one end of a hike and pick us up at the other end. The Shackleton hike covers the last four miles of Shackleton, Worsely, and Crean’s epic 32-mile traverse of South Georgia. While we had epic, sunny weather, those three set off to cross the island at the beginning of winter after their epic 16-day, 800-mile journey across the Southern Ocean in their lifeboat. It was truly extraordinary to know the story of the Endurance expedition and to be able to walk in their footsteps to the Stromness whaling station.

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  • Casual Trail and Yanayaquillo Creek

    This morning we had the opportunity to walk in the forest. This walk was different than the previous, as this was on what is referred to as terra firma. This is forest that does not flood during high-water season, and subsequently the flora and fauna reflect that difference. Size variance went from fig tree sentinels, to diminutive frogs that could sit on your thumbnail and have room to spare.

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  • Jackson Bay and Parry bay | Tierra del Fuego

    Jackson Bay of Karukinka’s Natural Reserve was where we started our day. Slowly approaching the beach on very shallow waters we could see the reflection of the bended Lengas, southern beech trees. The water falling from high in the mountains surrounded us and a big elephant seal at a distances raised it’s head pronouncing a strong trumpet like sound that echoed all around the mountains.

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  • Santa Cruz Island

    Today we visited Santa Cruz Island, and in the morning, we went to the giant tortoise breeding center, where it was feeding time. The giant tortoises were restless as they were anticipating the lush green leaves that were finally brought to the feeding platforms. Our guests learned a lot about the conservation efforts in order to reestablish the numbers of the emblematic animals of the Galapagos Archipelago. Then there was time to spend in the cozy town of Puerto Ayora and help the local economy. We boarded the buses and headed to the Highlands; the first stop was at the lava tube and then we paid a visit to a local farm, known as El Trapiche, where they grow sugar cane and coffee among other produce. It was fun to try the moonshine and a good cup of coffee. After lunch at Rancho El Manzanillo we all enjoyed a walk among the Santa Cruz giant tortoises, where every guest was able to have a one-to-one, as there were so many tortoises up there.

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

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