Daily Expedition Reports

Browse photos & daily reports sent from the field every day




Lastest Expedition Reports

  • Islas Los San Benitos

    We spent the morning at a remarkable island that has just recently become part of the Reserva de la Biosphere Vizcaíno. Before breakfast, some of the staff members made contact with a handful of fishermen who are working from the little community on the main island. They were happy to welcome us and act as guides to some of the sites and sights of the island. Soon, nearly all the guests were ashore by way of an easy landing on a shingle beach in front of the community and were on their way to the far side of the island to see some northern elephant seals hauled out on a couple of protected little beaches. Their story is very sad, but with a happy update. These giant pinnipeds (the males may reach five meters or 16 feet and a weight of more than two tons) were nearly extirpated in the late 19th century for their valuable oil. Like whales, they produce a thick layer of oil-rich, subcutaneous fat, or blubber, which was once a very valuable commodity. By 1892, just eight individuals were known to survive on Isla Guadalupe. Seven of these were promptly killed and it seemed the species was finished. Miraculously, 20 years later a group of about 100 animals was discovered on a hidden bay on this same island and the Mexican government gave them complete protection.  From there, they soon spread back to Los Benitos and then on to several points on the Baja mainland, so that today their numbers have continued to increase and survival seems assured.  

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  • Chiriguano Bay, Freud Passage

    The sky was overcast and the winds were soft but with strengthening gusts. Small icebergs called growlers, bobbed on the waves. The announcement quieted our breakfast conversations. Captain Martin Graser and expedition leader Doug Gould decided that we had better options than to stay in Wilhelmina Bay with winds pushing larger ice in our direction. Our bow turned into the wind and we crossed the Gerlache Strait and into true expedition mode. The plan was perfect. We would go where no other ship had recorded tracks. The hotel department surprised us with a special treat. On the back deck we were presented Fruschoppen, which includes sausages, sauerkraut, pretzels with hot mustard and Bloody Marys. This traditional Bavarian meal added a spicy flavor to our morning.

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  • Cierva Cove & Mikkelsen Harbor

    We’ve had so many amazing experiences on our expedition thus far; the landscape and wildlife of Antarctica keep delivering. We started the day with a lovely Zodiac cruise among giant icebergs, gentoo penguins, and calving glaciers. A light sprinkling of snow came and went as the clouds rolled by, giving us perfect lighting for viewing the deep blue colors of dense glacial ice. Antarctic terns, brown skuas, and kelp gulls circled and rested atop the mighty sculptures of ice. We took time to sit quietly in the Zodiacs, listening to the crackling of ice and the thunderous roar of calving glaciers in the distance. Cierva Cove, named after a Spanish aeronautical engineer, served as the perfect location to get our day started just right.

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  • Santa Cruz Island

    This morning National Geographic Endeavour II anchored in Academy Bay located on the southern end of Santa Cruz Island. This island is home to the headquarters of the Galapagos National Park Service. This morning we went to the breeding center for Galapagos giant tortoises, and afterwards our guests had a chance to explore the town of Puerto Ayora on their own.

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  • Wilhelmina Bay & Gerlache Strait

    I wonder how many of us imagine what it would be like to visit an alien planet. To board a starship, travel through space, descend through the atmosphere of an unexplored world, and disembark onto the surface of a world that’s never seen human footsteps.

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  • Espumilla Beach, Tagus Cove, Egas Port

    This morning we had a pre-breakfast kayak adventure. We hopped into the Zodiac and rode close to shore where we boarded the kayaks. The water was a bit choppy and it made kayaking a bit challenging for a beginning paddler. As the waves crashed against the rocks, we were in awe of the stunning scenery.

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  • Guerrero Negro & Ojo de Liebre Lagoon

    Our busy day ashore began with expedition landing craft rides through Ojo de Liebre, a coastal lagoon within the El Vizcaino UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. An essential habitat for multiple endangered species as well as migratory birds and gray whales, this dynamic environment was worth careful exploration. While the whales have not yet arrived from their Bering Sea summer feeding grounds, we observed many types of sea and shorebirds along the sandy beaches and marsh edges.

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  • Isabela Island

    Today we woke up to a beautiful sunny day in the west of the Galapagos, on Isabela Island. National Geographic Islander anchored right off the coast of Alcedo Volcano, one of the six volcanoes that formed the seahorse-shaped Island of Isabela. This volcano is home to giant tortoises, which migrate down to lay their eggs. One of the places they go to is called Urbina bay, which we visited today.

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  • Lemaire Channel & Penola Strait

    Rays of sunshine rolled in off the snow-kissed mountains this morning as we headed down the famed Lemaire Channel, so named by Belgian explorer, Gerlache. The channel is a tapering seven-mile stretch, reaching on average only a mile wide and lined on either side by a series of panoramic and magnificent peaks. At its end, the Channel opens out into the wide sweeping Penola Strait, with Girard Bay off to one side. The whole area was filled with beautiful glistening clusters of brash ice, interspersed with burgs and crystal clear growlers. Penguins porpoised in between the chunks of ice and Crabeater seals were hauled out and sunning themselves on burgs.

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  • Isla San Martin

    Continuing our journey southward along the Baja Peninsula, changes in the landscape, vegetation, and culture began to make themselves apparent. Isla San Martin, an extinct cinder cone volcano and our stop for the morning, is considered the southernmost of the Channel Islands. In contrast to our earlier stops at Northern Channel Islands like Santa Rosa and Santa Catalina, San Martin was never exposed to the pressures of grazing by introduced ranch animals and features a unique community of native species, including six native reptiles and a host of succulents and lichens. Guests took the opportunity to explore to island’s coastline by Zodiac and spotted marine life like harbor seals and bullwhip kelp alongside the small vessels used by the island’s fishing cooperative.

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

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