Daily Expedition Reports

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Lastest Expedition Reports

  • Pavlof and Hood Bay

    Once again, we were so fortunate to enjoy a bright, blue day here in Southeast Alaska! Kayakers dipped paddles into calm waters at Pavlof Harbor as the tide slowly crept out and exposed various seaweeds, limpets, barnacles, and crabs. Some hikers spotted a brown bear on the opposite shoreline while bald eagles soared overhead. During our transit to Hood Bay, we found a couple humpback whales in Chatham Strait. Our evening was spent peacefully searching for brown bears on the coastline of Admiralty Island.

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  • LeConte Glacier and Petersburg

    It was yet another stunningly beautiful day in Southeast Alaska, though today felt more like Alaska and a tad less tropical than previous days. Though the forecast called for rain, we felt only a few drops, and enjoyed the welcome cloud cover. After breakfast, we hopped into our expedition landing crafts and cruised the entrance of the inlet leading to LeConte Glacier. The glacier was too far away to see, but its presence was evident all around us in the form of floating ice: massive icebergs, huge bergy bits, lots of growlers, and plenty of brash (all technical terms for different sizes of ice chunks). This is a terrific area, with massive pieces of ice the size of multi-story mansions resting in the water. Most of the icebergs are a thrilling turquoise blue, almost seeming to glow from within. Looking up at the ice, we felt very small. A few bald eagles were spotted on trees and ice, as well as a few harbor seals. This is prime seal pupping season, and we are in the perfect spot to see them: harbor seals choose to give birth near glaciers because there is plenty of ice to rest upon and some protection from killer whales. 

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  • Icy Strait – Idaho Inlet & Inian Islands

    After continuing northwest through Chatham Strait, National Geographic Quest awoke this morning under cover of a classic Alaskan spring morning. Arriving to our anchorage at Idaho Inlet, the summer solstice blessed us today with a cloudy sky - a perfect taste of the conditions that support this mystical biome. 

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  • Mo’orea

    Moorea is considered to be one of the most beautiful islands of French Polynesia. The mountainous landscape is dotted by sacred peaks reaching far into the skies, and numerous jagged ridges adorn this remarkable island. Tahiti’s sister is pristine and secluded, surrounded by colorful fringing reefs, evoking a feeling of an ancient time. Mo’orea still retains an authentic island feel, with many traditional villages, beaches, archaeological sites and lookouts to be discovered. Our Lindblad/National Geographic expedition day catered for all, from an island knowledge tour to hiking, 4-wheel driving, Zodiac exploration and stand up paddles. Unfortunately, it was time to say our farewells as National Geographic Orion sailed to Papeete, Tahiti. Moorea is so breathtaking that we could not ask for a better place to end our incredible Polynesian adventure!

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  • Tobermory – Iona – Duart Castle – Oban

    The rumble of the Lord of the Glens’ engine provided our wake-up call this morning. During breakfast, we sailed from Tobermory to Craignure, with sunshine lighting the way. A bus ride across the Isle of Mull, with its green slopes and rugged terrain, kicked off the day’s activities, with a lively, joke-filled commentary from our bus driver. Mull is one of the large islands of the Inner Hebrides, with a population of just over 3,000. On the far side of Mull, we left the bus to take a short ferry ride over to Iona.

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  • South Plaza and Santa Fe Islands

    After visit Santa Cruz and after a day full of surprises within civilization, we moved east to two different locations quite close to this island. South Plaza is located on the east coast of Santa Cruz, and it has a completely different ecosystem than the islands before. It was formed by several uplifts thousands of years ago and proof of that are the pieces of coral found on the island and now this island is home of unique species some of them endemic to the archipelago. Since humans settled on the island, they removed the main predator on Plaza which was the Galapagos hawk, so now due to the lack a predator, the population of iguanas has increased but diminishing the cactus trees, their most important source of food. Land iguanas share this with marine iguanas and sometimes crossbreed, resulting in infertile offspring with a weird aspect, hence called “Weirdos.” 

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  • Jan Mayen, Norway

    There is something mysterious and mystical about a foggy morning at sea. For a ship full of guests expecting to make land on an isolated island in the High Arctic ─a difficult feat even on clear days ─fog is a bit disheartening. Such was the case as we awoke this morning, sailing towards Jan Mayen, a group of volcanic islands belongs to Norway. You could say that Jan Mayen is the very definition of “out of the way,” or even “in the middle of nowhere.” A weather map of the islands could include the words foggy, misty, chance of rain, and heavy winds, and it would be accurate about 85% of the year. The fog this morning was merely testing our resolve, however. As we approached the islands, the fog lifted, and bright sun and blue sky appeared. As the curtain of mist rose, a wondrous sight met our eyes: beautiful Jan Mayen.

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  • Santiago Island, Bartolome, and Sombrero Chino

    Today we visited two areas surrounding Santiago island in the north - central area of the Galapagos archipelago. Early in the morning we landed on Bartolome Island, one of the most iconic landscapes of the Galapagos. Here we had the opportunity to snorkel and use our glass-bottom boat to explore the undersea world of this small island. In the afternoon, we sailed to Sombrero Chino, a volcanic cinder cone of spectacular beauty. Here we had a second outing of snorkeling. The wonderful landscape and unique creatures on Sombrero Chino gave us many good opportunities for photography and birdwatching. After a full and active day, we were ready to enjoy a delicious barbecue on the top deck with an astonishing view of the volcanic landscape of Santiago Island.

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  • Tinos

    We boarded our tenders at 8:15 a.m. and landed at Chora, the main village on the island of Tinos. Our first destination was the village of Pyrgos (the name means “tower”). The ride to this classic Cycladic village―the most beautiful of the 61 villages on the island, in my opinion ―was through rugged mountain valleys covered with ancient terracing. Like most islands in the Cyclades, Tinos is rocky, lacking any depth of soil. The terracing allows for the concentration of soil and conservation of water. As we drove, we passed windmills and Tinos’s famous dovecotes. More than 1,000 of these massive birdhouses dot the island’s landscape. Dovecotes were used as a source of meat (from the birds) and fertilizer (from the guano), and as a system of communication. The structures are very beautiful architecturally, and families often vied with one another to build the most attractive examples. 

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  • Makatea, Tuamotu, French Polynesia

    As the sun rose, National Geographic Orion navigated around the spectacular sun kissed cliffs of Makatea towards the old harbor. This derelict harbor was once thriving with industry associated with the phosphate mines, which cover the island. The day’s activities all included a trip to the lookout point which allowed us to view these uplifted coral cliffs from above. From here, guests ventured down to the freshwater grotto whilst keeping their eyes peeled for the endemic birds unique to the Tuamoto’s. The grottos were a highlight for all as most opted for a dip in the rejuvenating waters with masks and underwater flashlights allowing us to take in the stalactites and stalagmites that line the caves interior.

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

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