Daily Expedition Reports

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Lastest Expedition Reports

  • Beqa Island, Fiji

    After an action packed fortnight exploring Polynesia and Melanesia, guests enjoyed a more leisurely morning on board National Geographic Orion. As we made our way towards Beqa Island guests listened to lectures by Guest Speaker Joe McGuiness and Naturalist Jimmy White. Those that ventured to the bow recorded a great variety of seabirds over the flat calm sea conditions.

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  • Bartolome & Sombrero Chino Islands

    As the sun rose early in the morning, we found ourselves in front of Bartholomew Island in the central realm of Galapagos. We went out onto our Zodiacs and arrived ashore before breakfast to hike to the top of a large cinder cone and from there had an impressive view of Bartholomew’s volcanic landscape. After the hike we went to the beach, on a ride along the coast on the glass bottom boat and also deep water snorkeling from the Zodiacs.

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  • Plazas & Santa Fe Islands

    Today we are visiting two impressive internal islands that hold unique species of land iguanas; today we are seen adaptation at its best, Plazas and Santa Fe Islands.

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  • Vanua Balavu

    Located 355km east of Nadi and about halfway to Tonga, Vanua Balavu is Fiji’s third biggest island and considered one of the most scenic. This unexplored remote region is renowned for its mushroom shaped islands and pristine waters, where commercial fishing is not allowed. Most of islands are made of limestone and a few are volcanic. Interrupted periods of uplift have permitted the corals to grow, creating a fantastic opportunity for snorkeling, diving, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and swimming. The alluring warm and emerald green sea was the perfect invitation for guests to take a plunge into this tropical paradise. With our beautiful National Geographic Orion ship safely anchored, we set to explore and cruise around this maze of islands surrounded by calm waters. We were pleasantly surprised by our “Zodiac bar”, strategically placed to quench our thirst. Cocktails in hand, we learnt about the interesting geological mushroom formations and how they acquired their peculiar shapes. Water erosion and the persistent grazing action of small mollusks called chitons are responsible for these fascinating features. In colloquial language, chitons are also called coat-of-mail, their shell resembling the segmental armour on a knight's gauntlet. These marine creatures have powerful teeth coated with magnetite, a hard ferric/ferrous oxide mineral. The radula, or teeth, is used to scrape microscopic algae of the substratum and the foraging action slowly carves into the limestone walls. Other marine creatures were also spotted. Sharks, turtles, and colorful fish were found gently cruising around the islands, framed by hard and soft corals.

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  • Le Conte Bay

    “Ice Ice Baby…”

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  • Kelp Bay

    Although most people understand that wildlife does what it wants to do, where it wants to do it, and none of us no matter how much we try, can alter that simple fact. Still, as the expedition rolls along, and no bears had been seen, our guests could not help but wonder if their trip, would be the first group not to see one. Therefore, as the National Geographic Sea Lion Headed into Kelp Bay, those of us on the bow kept hoping that today would be the day, and now would be the time. In time however, hopes began to fade, and people naturally started to make their way back into the ship, thinking a hearty breakfast would ease the worry that no bears had been seen just yet.

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  • Santa Cruz Island

    We are having a fabulous time in the Galapagos Archipelago. Today we anchored off Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island to visit the iconic Giant tortoises at the Galapagos National Park Facilities and we also explored the forests and farming areas that are part of the highlights of this Island.

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  • Taveuni Island, Fiji

    Our arrival in Fiji this morning brought us into a different world—out of the great triangle of Polynesia and into the first of the large islands of Melanesia. On the beautiful garden island of Taveuni we were welcomed into a traditional village with a kava ceremony presided over by the regional chiefs. It was a serious, solemn ritual, followed by some very lighthearted dance performances from the school children. After a delicious snack of local specialties we had a choice of remaining in the village for music and handicrafts or a short hike to a lovely waterfall and swimming hole.

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  • The Strait of Messina & Taormina, Sicily

    Before dawn the Sea Cloud departed the Tyrrhenian Sea and entered the Ionian Sea via the narrow Strait of Messina, maneuvering around local ferries, freighters, and fishing-crafts before strong currents propelled it into the Messina Harbor. After a bus ride along the stunningly beautiful Sicilian coast, we spent the morning exploring the sites and shops of Taormina before having lunch on the ship. Then, Massimo Bassano regaled the guests with tales of the Mafia before we returned ashore to have dinner at the nearby Castello degli Schiavi, an 18th-century villa that was used as a backdrop for all three of The Godfather films.

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  • Glacier Bay National Park

    After a beautiful day in Glacier Bay National Park, the National Geographic Sea Lion motored across Icy Strait to Fox Creek. An excellent site for walks of various lengths, and kayaking opportunities. After the morning activities concluded we assembled our expedition gear and weighed anchor. It was just a hop-skip-and-a-jump around the corner to the Inian Islands. A legendary place for exploring by small boat. Two rounds of cruises went out to view the productive area full of wildlife. Sea Otters and Sea Lions were spotted en mass and a multitude of bird life looked on.

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

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