Portsmouth & Keyhaven

May 09, 2019 - National Geographic Explorer

National Geographic Explorer arrived in Portsmouth in the early morning. The first group of guests left for Titchfield Haven Nature Reserve for a bird-watching walk. It was a wonderful experience to stroll surrounded by many songbirds. We had fantastic views of avocets, cuckoos, and Mediterranean gulls, among others. We were surprised to discover that not only wildlife makes Titchfield an interesting place but also the presence of archaeological remains indicating human activity in the area for thousands of years.

The rest of us spent the morning in the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, home of iconic British Navy ships. We visited the HMS Victory, Lord Nelson’s flagship, a wonderful example of a first-rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy. We also explored the Mary Rose museum, home of the remains of the Mary Rose and its extraordinary collection of Tudor artifacts. This exhibition is of exceptional quality and is recognized worldwide as a state-of-the-art museum for maritime archaeology.

After returning to the Explorer, we sailed across the Solent heading toward Hurst Castle and Keyhaven, where we disembarked by Zodiacs. Some of us opted to walk around the coastal path of Keyhaven while others visited Hurst Castle, a fortress that operated for four centuries.

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About the Author

Clara Fuquen

Naturalist/Expedition Diver

Despite her origins high up in the Andes mountains, Clara has built a career working beneath the surface of the world’s oceans. Being trained as a diver in the Colombian Navy, she began her archaeological career working on the 18th century Spanish shipwreck Conquistador. Working on various underwater and terrestrial archaeological sites in the following years, Clara completed an undergraduate degree in anthropology at the Colombian National University, followed by a Masters degree in Maritime Archaeology in the UK’s Southampton University. Her subsequent PhD research focused on traditional boatbuilding in the remote jungles of Colombia’s pacific coast.

About the Photographer

Ella Potts


Growing up, Ella spent much of her time swimming and kayaking in the cold waters off the rugged coast of West Wales. It was there that she first found her love of the ocean. From those early beginnings she went on to study Biology at undergraduate degree and Environmental Biology, Conservation and Resource Management to Masters degree level, at Swansea University. During her studies, Ella took an ecosystem approach towards assessing the health of our marine systems, with her specialism being in our oceans apex predators, the cetaceans. Following her studies, Ella decided to put her scientific background to good use and move into marine conservation.

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