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


Ella’s passion has always been in marine conservation, with a childhood spent swimming, kayaking or boating in the chilly waters of the UK, or surveying the marine life of those waters from windswept headlands. She has numerous, distinct early memories of shivering adults, wrapped up in jumpers and cagoules, looking down at her with slight horror through sheets of rain and commenting on her short sleeves. A phenomena that persists to this day.  She graduated with a Masters degree in Marine Biology: Conservation and Resource Management from Swansea University, setting her up for a career protecting those marine ecosystems that she so loves. 

Ella has worked for several British whale conservancy charities, including ORCA and the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust (HWDT) and is a British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) marine mammal medic. She has a real passion for lecturing, and during her time in these different organizations has presented to vastly ranging audiences; from groups of young children right up to filled auditoriums at the headquarters of HWDT partner, WWF. 

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