Ducie Atoll, Pitcairn Island Group

Apr 02, 2018 - National Geographic Orion


After spending two days at sea in the depths of the South Pacific, we arrived to our first destination and were welcomed by ideal conditions for our activities today. Breakfast out on deck allowed us to enjoy a dramatic sunrise that marked the start of our day. We were all very eager to plant our feet on solid ground, despite having a very calm transit over the previous two days. After breakfast we heard about the story of HMS Bounty from Alex, which has historical ties to this region while the scouting party assessed the conditions for getting to shore. The conditions could not have been better, so we were all able to spend some time exploring this tiny atoll, inhabited only by a few species of sea birds. 

After enjoying lunch back on the sun deck, we got ready to enjoy the water activities for the afternoon. The divers went out to get up close and personal with the rich corals and inhabitants at depth, while most of us donned our masks and snorkels and enjoyed the views from the surface in more shallow waters. The third option was to enjoy a tour in our custom made glass-bottom Zodiac, the M/V Tom Ritchee, which was captained by none other than Tom Ritchie himself. 

After everyone was back on board, National Geographic Orion headed west toward our next destination. But not long after getting underway, we were graced with the presence of a few sperm whales regaining their strength after making deep dives in search for prey. It was a fantastic introduction to the South Pacific and left us sun-kissed and excited for more.

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About the Author

Robert Alexander

Naturalist/Expedition Diver

Robert Alexander has quenched his thirst for exploring the world’s flora and fauna by captaining, interpreting natural history, and conducting research aboard ships.  He particularly developed a passion for the marine life below the water’s surface while attending the University of Oregon and becoming involved with their diving program.  The rich waters of the Pacific Northwest led Robert to change career paths, and locales, as a SCUBA Instructor based primarily out of Maui.  Utilizing any means of floating vessel, from kayaks and catamarans to small passenger boats and Zodiacs, Robert became a captain as he explored the behavioral patterns of the captivating marine megafauna throughout the world.  In between being a captain and naturalist, he strives to conserve and preserve all forms of life- be it our very own species as a firefighter and EMT, assisting in shark-tagging projects for NOAA, or researching hawksbill turtle populations with the Hawaii Wildlife Fund.

About the Videographer

James Napoli

Video Chronicler

Jim was born in rural New England where he quickly developed an appreciation for the outdoors and a love of exploration.  Four years with the U.S. Navy further enhanced his appetite for travel. Always interested in the visual arts, he studied Television at Boston University and Northeast College of Communications, landing his first job in the industry working as an editor at a Boston television station. His wanderlust drew him to a job with two major cruise lines; installing and managing broadcast centers onboard a total of over a dozen ships. He has since moved on to specialize in expedition travel and wildlife productions.  

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