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Charles Darwin Research Station, Highlands, Santa Cruz Island

Today we spent the day on Santa Cruz Island, which is the home of the largest giant tortoises to inhabit this archipelago. As we approached the dock by Zodiac, we could see several brown pelicans in the mangrove forest and marine iguanas swimming. Several Darwin’s finches moved from tree to tree, searching for food or perhaps looking for a mate. The Galapagos National Park Service, together with the Charles Darwin Foundation, are some of the most respected conservation institutions in the world due to the breeding center, where the tortoises are being raised in captivity and repatriated to their island of origin. Read More>

Sep 22, 2016 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Santiago Island

We are in the middle of a fantastic expedition in the Galapàgos Islands, and today it was time to explore Santiago Island. Early in the morning, before breakfast, the National Geographic Islander dropped anchor at Espumilla Beach. Read More>

Sep 22, 2016 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

The Dalles, Maryhill Museum

At about six o’clock this morning the National Geographic Sea Bird pulled away from the dock at Hood River and started its repositioning up river to The Dalles. We had a nice morning with a following wind and sea, which made our journey very enjoyable. So right after breakfast we geared up for the a.m. activities, enjoying a spectacular view of the Gorge from Rowena Crest overlook, and then spending the rest of the morning at the Columbia River Gorge Interpretive Center, an incredible museum and accompanying grounds, with more wonderful views of the mighty Columbia! We did have a variety of options for returning to the ship during the morning. First there was a walk of about 6 miles on the bike/walking trail along the river, then there was an early bus that headed back at 11:15 a.m., then a bike ride along the same trail and finally, a bus that got us to the ship just before lunch, perfect! This afternoon would have a little twist to the returning-to-ship part of the activities, so we needed to bring our life preservers along with us on the bus, but I’ll get to that in a minute! First, we boarded the buses for about a half-hour ride to the Maryhill Museum, which sits on a high bench above the Columbia River upriver from The Dalles. Read More>

Sep 22, 2016 National Geographic Sea Bird in Pacific Northwest

The Columbia River Gorge, Hood River

What a gorgeous day in the gorge!  We began with an early morning view of the forested hillsides of the lower reaches of the Columbia River Gorge, recalling the joy of Lewis and Clark as they passed through this same landscape in the autumn of 1805.  A highlight for them and for us was passing by the massive monolith of Beacon Rock, a giant sentinel beaconing the way toward tidewater. As we entered the lock at Bonneville Dam we recalled the great optimism of President Franklin D. Read More>

Sep 22, 2016 National Geographic Sea Lion in Pacific Northwest

San Salvador Island

We dropped the anchor at Espumilla Bay, at sunrise. With the first rays of light, our guests prepared to disembark for today’s adventures. One of the groups hiked through an enchanted forest of holy trees and up a gentle hill, where they enjoyed delightful views accompanied with the intoxicating aroma of incense permeating the atmosphere. Several guests decided to stay along the beach, photographing hawks hovering in the mangroves and friendly shore birds; they learned about light, composition and shutter speed in the company of our photo expert, Aura. We also had a group who decided to sit, observe and paint, living the “here and now” together with resident artist Amy Wright. If the early morning was peacefully charming, the after breakfast activities kept us very active. Read More>

Sep 21, 2016 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Twillingate, Newfoundland

The Mayor of Twillingate braved the somewhat inclement weather this morning to welcome us ashore at this sleepy coastal settlement which dates back to the early 18th century. Back then both French and English fishermen came across from Europe to work the rich waters of the area. The communities here have had a close connection to, and affinity with, the sea by which their textured culture has to a large degree been shaped. The first visit on our agenda was to the Prime Berth Fishing Heritage Museum. Here we were treated to a personalised guided tour by Dave, the owner of the facility, who gave us a firsthand account of the everyday life of a coastal fisherman in these waters. We had a demonstration of splitting and salting cod fish. Plus, the intricacies and nuances of tying hooks on lines, placing lobster and crab pots and much more were explained. The museum itself consists of a number of timber-built huts which are jam-packed with an incredible, eclectic mix of artefacts related to working the sea. On one of the wharfs the skeleton of a whale is displayed while at every turn some new wonder catches the eye, making it on top of everything else, a photographers’ paradise. A contingent of energetic guests went for a hike along a section of coast in the vicinity of Long Point Lighthouse. Read More>

Sep 21, 2016 National Geographic Explorer in Canada

Urbina Bay & Tagus Cove, Isabela Island VIDEO

We have had a wonderful expedition so far. Today we woke up in high spirits with a magnificent view of Urbina Bay. This place is of great geological interest because an unusual and recent event took place here as recent as 1954. An earthquake of approximately 6.5 magnitude on the Richter scale occurred on June 4th, 1954 which caused a huge area adjacent to the coastline to suddenly uplift, leaving many marine creatures exposed, left high and dry. Nowadays it is still possible to see, as relics of this event, huge pieces of brain coral inland! In this area there is a healthy population of Galapagos land iguanas and we saw many of them along the trails. Read More>

Sep 21, 2016 National Geographic Islander in Galápagos

Bonneville Lock, Multnomah Falls, Hood River

Fall was revealed—brown leaves on the maple trees and brisk air—as we embarked on the day’s first excursion.  In the early a.m., after moving east through basalt wonders of the Columbia Gorge, National Geographic Sea Bird entered Bonneville Lock. Staff was on deck, describing the imminent 60-foot rise in the lock. Once launched upstream we passed dozens of wooden fishing platforms reserved for local Native Americans by an 1855 treaty. Bonneville Dam, a towering monument in the midst of the Cascade Mountains, was the first U.S. Army Corps of Engineers cement passage on the Columbia River (1938). Sailing under the Bridge of the Gods (an Indian legend described by the historian), we entered the town of Cascade Locks. Read More>

Sep 21, 2016 National Geographic Sea Bird in Pacific Northwest

Astoria, Oregon

We spent this first day in and around the quaint coastal town of Astoria, Oregon. Although this area is notorious for its copious rain and thick fog, we were lucky to enjoy a day full of sunshine and warmth. After a hearty breakfast, we boarded our coaches and headed south to Fort Clatsop National Historic Park. A dense temperate rainforest surrounds the park. This setting made it easier to imagine how the members of the Lewis and Clark Expedition lived at this site during the winter of 1805 to 1806. The life-sized replica of the fort itself completed the effect. We examined the fort and then some of us wandered through the excellent museum, while others went on a nature walk to learn about the native plants and animals of the coastal forest. Next, we stopped at the Astoria Column, a 125-foot monument to the region’s storied history. Read More>

Sep 21, 2016 National Geographic Sea Lion in Pacific Northwest

Urbina Bay and Tagus Cove, Isabela Island

Today National Geographic Endeavour anchored just offshore of Urbina Bay as first light appeared. We will continue our exploration of the western realm of the Galapagos Islands for a second day, visiting Urbina Bay on the northwestern shores of Alcedo Volcano and Tagus Cove where massive tuff cones lie on the western shores of Darwin Volcano. All of these sites are part of Isabela, the largest Island of the archipelago. Right after breakfast, we set off on board our Zodiacs for the dark sand beach of Urbina Bay. Read More>

Sep 20, 2016 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

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

 

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