Daily Expedition Reports

Browse photos & daily reports sent from the field every day




Lastest Expedition Reports

  • Victoria, Vancouver Island

    Today we made our first Canadian landing on the island of Vancouver, home to the capital of British Columbia, Victoria. Victoria is a picturesque city filled with beautiful architecture, bustling shops, and colorful flowers as well as a rich history and culture—a culmination of English, American, First Nation, Chinese, French, and Spanish influences. Among the tall buildings, the evidence of fall was in the air as the leaves began to change their color. 

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  • Torres del Paine

    The legendary, jagged-mountain vistas of Torres del Paine are the very reason many make their way to Chile, and yet, high winds and dense clouds often obstruct the view. But today, when National Geographic Explorer visited the area, the weather gods were the kindest they could be. With an immense blue sky above and view one for which one waits a lifetime, guests explored the rolling hills, searching for wildlife. They were rewarded with sightings of several mountain lions and brackish lakes full of pink flamingos and black-necked swans. From there, we headed south to wilder places, full of gratitude.

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  • San Juan Island

    We awoke this morning at anchor in Echo Bay at Sucia Island, a delightful state park that we explored yesterday. With the sunrise over Mt. Baker behind us, we headed to the town of San Juan Island’s Friday Harbor, the county seat and “hub” of the archipelago. It’s a picturesque town with a beautiful harbor, filled with all kinds of vessels.

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  • Bernal Glacier & White Narrows

    A pleasant, early-morning hike brought us face-to-face with the colossal and spectacularly located Bernal Glacier. Back on board, we readied for entrance to Seno Última Esperanza (Last Hope Bay) and waited for the slack tide, when the sea currents of this very narrow passage are not so powerful and therefore safer for navigation. After crossing, we boarded Zodiacs once again to explore the little archipelago on its eastern side. The rain let up, and we had an amazing encounter with very rare Chilean dolphins before we sailed on to the town of Puerto Natales, where we spent the night in port.

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  • Lower Monumental Dam & Palouse River

    Stars were dimming in a clear sky as we sailed upstream on the Snake River on this chilly autumn morning. Dark cliffs of basalt loomed on either side of the river as the sky began to glow orange on the horizon. In full daylight, we could see the details in the layers of beautiful basaltic lava that formed the cliffs. Many of us stayed out on the bow to watch the gorgeous landscape sail by. Our historian, Harry Fritz, finished his series of presentations on the Lewis & Clark expedition. In late morning we transited the lock at Lower Monumental Dam and sailed out onto Herbert G. West Lake until we came to the confluence of the Palouse River. Here we dropped anchor and launched our afternoon expeditions directly following lunch.

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  • Patagonia Icefields

    Patagonia is one of the windiest and wettest regions on Earth. Southern Hemisphere westerly winds gain moisture and force as they cross the Pacific Ocean, and when they reach the Chilean fjords and channels, they ride up over the Andean mountain range, across the two main Patagonian icefields into Argentina. We’ve been able to feel these strong winds—and the intense precipitation that comes with them—during National Geographic Explorer’s navigation through the English Narrows.

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  • Sucia Island Marine State Park

    There’s no better way to begin an adventure than standing on deck, feeling brisk sea spray misting up from the ocean. In order to get to know our vessel, our surroundings, and the guiding philosophies of our expedition, we spent the morning cruising north from Seattle into the picturesque San Juan Islands—ancestral home of many of the Coast Salish people and “discovered” by the Spanish in 1791. Their abundant wildlife populations, plus the maintained trail systems on many of the unpopulated islands, make the San Juans an ideal location for a day of hiking or kayaking.

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  • The Dalles, Cruising

    Overnight National Geographic Quest was tied-up at the downtown dock in the city of The Dalles, located in the state of Oregon. So, as the sun came up, and we finished our breakfast, it was an easy exit of the ship to our coaches, and then rolling toward the morning’s activities! This included a short stop on the Historic Columbia Gorge Highway to a magnificent scenic viewing area called Rowena Crest. After a short twenty minute stop to take photos and enjoy the view, we re-entered our coaches and headed for the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, where we were treated to a raptor presentation, as well as wonderful interpretive displays of the Gorge area, and Wasco County. There were several options for guests to enjoy: a bike trip to the ship, “photo” or naturalist walk around the Center’s ground, or a bus ride to see the town of The Dalles while learning more about Lewis & Clark’s Journey. The rest of the day we cruised the river, transiting through several more locks!  

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  • Tortel and Puerto Brown, Chile

    This morning, we visited the tiny village of Tortel (pop. 500) and walked all over the village via its extensive boardwalk system. The village sits on the edge of the vertical walls of the fjord so the only way to get around is to traverse the boardwalks which hang on the rock walls above the water.

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  • Columbia Gorge and Hood River, Oregon

    The first light of dawn found us sailing upstream on the Great River of the West, the Columbia, and into the heart of the Columbia Gorge. The stars of Orion the Mighty Hunter were dimming in the south and soon Beacon Rock loomed ahead in the distance.  This passage from interior Washington to the Pacific Ocean was carved by the Columbia River. The Columbia, an antecedent river, was here before the Cascade Range rose and the river maintained its course to the sea by cutting downward as fast as the mountains rose, forming the Columbia Gorge. The growing light revealed high cliffs of layered lava; these are stacked flows of the Columbia River Basalt Province, in which we will be sailing for most of our journey on the rivers. At the Bonneville Dam, we passed through our first of eight locks on this journey and proceeded on to Hood River for our day’s excursions. Excursions included enjoying a magnificent view of Mount Hood while sampling fruit at the Draper Girls Farm, hiking the Historic Columbia River Highway to the Mosier Tunnels, and visiting the amazing Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum (WAAM); you have to see it to believe it.

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

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