Daily Expedition Reports

Browse photos & daily reports sent from the field every day

Lastest Expedition Reports

  • Urbina Bay

    Today it was a full day exploring with the National Geographic Islander and we started by visiting Urbina Bay, where during the hike we were able to see several reptiles. We saw marine iguanas, lava lizards, land iguanas, and our first giant tortoise of the expedition! After this activity we enjoyed a refreshing moment at the beach watching pelicans diving for their meals.

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  • Santiago Island

    Today we are visiting the island where Darwin spent most of his time during his visit in Galapagos. After a dry landing, some of us went on a pre-breakfast outing to walk through the mangrove forest and explore the arid zone full of incense trees and endemic birds. Others went on a photography walk along the beach. We encountered several young Galapagos hawks and a few mockingbirds along the way.

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  • Godthul & Grytviken, South Georgia

    This morning the National Geographic Explorer woke up on the hook in Jason Harbor in Cumberland Bay to an absolutely stunning day. The Allardyce Range was in full sun and as we pulled away from our anchorage we were exposed for the first time to the rugged nature of the mountains, which make this island in the Subantarctic so dramatic. Continuing down the coast we pulled into Godthul (meaning Good Cove in Norwegian) and pursued our preference either on foot or Zodiac. At the landing, we encountered evidence of bygone whaling days and the remnants of the floating factories that operated in Godthul from 1908-1928. As we negotiated our way up through the tussock we encountered the occasional snarl of the fur seal and were glad when we got out of the thick grass for ease of walking and absence of the eared seal with a territorial disposition. As we emerged to more open country we discovered evidence of reindeer that have since been eradicated. In 1911, ten animals were introduced to nearby Ocean Harbor on the Barff Peninsula as a reminder of home for the Norwegian whalers and for hunting. Unfortunately the three reindeer introductions on South Georgia were in some of the most biologically productive areas and by 2000 it was realized that the reindeer must go. After eradications in 2013 and 2014 the reindeer, like the rats, are considered to no longer be present, albeit the monitoring continues. Climbing further up, the hikers had incredible views of the surroundings (and gentoo penguins) while those in Zodiacs enjoyed the incredibly rich shoreline of Godthul.

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  • Right Whale Harbor and Prion Island, South Georgia, Southern Ocean, Planet Earth

    Our first day on South Georgia did not disappoint. A magical place that is far removed from everywhere and yet rich beyond anywhere. The island and islets that make up this place have warmer air then the Antarctic continent and yet the same rich waters, teeming with life, which fosters all kinds of delightful animals. We were fortunate enough to make a morning landing at Right Whale Bay, where we encountered fur and elephant seals, king and gentoo penguins, glaciers, mountains, and majesty. In the afternoon we visited the historic and stunning Prion Island where we met wandering albatross and light-mantled albatross.

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  • Fortuna & Stromness (Shackleton Hike), Hercules Bay

    After a wild South Georgia initiation, all on board finally got to experience this incredible destination in the sunshine. After an early breakfast we made our way out for an epic day of expedition exploration. On the landing at Fortuna Bay, Zodiacs endured some rough conditions but all made it ashore safely and we were soon hiking our way out of the bay, retracing the footsteps of the Boss. The initial climb was masked by the fog but the sun began to burn through by the time we made it to Crean Bay. Before we descended to the Shackleton Waterfall the spectacular mountains could be seen towering up into the sky. After lunch Zodiacs were again in the water, this time for cruising in the beautiful Hercules Bay. All enjoyed magnificent views of light-mantled albatross and the waterfall but the highlights were the macaroni penguins. The hardy, crested penguins were forming a conveyor belt that moved out of the surf and up the steep mountainside to their colonies in the tussock.

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  • Isabela Island

    Isabela Island is almost one hundred nautical miles long from north to south. It has five main shield volcanoes and all of them are considered to be very active—for my own experience, I have witnessed at least a dozen volcanic eruptions in almost every one of them. Something very remarkable about this island is that each active volcano has its own population of giant tortoises, each with a different carapace shape. Just another example of adaptive radiation in Galapagos. 

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  • Isabela and Fernandina Islands

    This morning we arrived at the northern realm of Isabela Island and had great weather. Today we got a nice bright sunny day and calm seas, which was perfect as we were looking for marine mammals and found a Bryde´s whale. As the morning advanced we went to Punta Vicente Roca and there we went on a Zodiac ride. We saw sun fish and lots of sea birds. Later on we went snorkeling with sea turtles, flightless cormorants, and Galapagos sea lions. In the afternoon we switched and went ashore to Punta Espinoza, which is always full of activity. We encountered Galapagos land iguanas, Galapagos sea lions, brown pelicans, and even a small Galapagos snake.

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  • At Sea

    During our second full day at sea while we sail towards the island of South Georgia, we have enjoyed gentle, rolling seas. Throughout the day, several of the naturalists on board did presentations to help us prepare for arrival on South Georgia. In the late afternoon, the clouds lifted to reveal a fleeting glimpse of Shag Rocks—a group of rocky pinnacles which stand in the open ocean, far to the north of South Georgia. 

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  • Drygalski & Cooper Island

    Guests awoke as the ship navigated around to the southern tip of South Georgia and into Drygalski Fjord. Despite windy conditions guests were treated to spectacular views of steep cliffs and towering mountain faces descending from the clouds as the ship was positioned at the foot of the Risting Glacier for a breakfast vista.

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  • Fernandina & Isabela Islands

    Today’s expedition started very early with whale watching as we navigated through the Bolivar Channel between Fernandina and Isabela Islands. The expedition continued with an invigorating hike on the youngest island of the Galapagos Archipelago, Fernandina Island. The latest volcanic eruption on this island was in fact this year on September 4th, and the National Geographic Endeavour II was the first boat to identify the eruption and inform the Galapagos National Park about the volcanic activity.

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

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