Daily Expedition Reports

Browse photos & daily reports sent from the field every day

Lastest Expedition Reports

  • Playa Blanca

    Our day started in the middle of Golfo Dulce with an easy landing at Playa Blanca. I’ve never seen such a calm water area surrounded by so many mountain ranges. It was just a spectacular place, with scarlet macaws and yellow-throated toucans flying over us. We were welcomed by local guides who led us to different farms and trails. 

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  • The Drake Passage

    The Drake Passage is truly a birder’s paradise. Both the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean meet off Cape Horn, which provides our guests aboard National Geographic Orion the opportunity to see numerous species of oceanic birds. As an ecologist, I can truly say there is a cost benefit approach to sailing the Drake Passage. Calm days provide the opportunity to see whales, but without wind, bird enthusiasts are limited to less diversity. The great albatrosses and petrels use winds to glide over great distances in search for food. Less energy is needed on windy days. On calm days, the albatrosses rest floating on the surface to conserve energy. Today our guests encountered a southern giant petrel, a species commonly sighted throughout the Southern Ocean. They are the true scavengers, feeding on anything they can find. We also encountered a white-chinned shearwater and a beautiful group of cape petrels. Later that afternoon one of our naturalists, Tom Richie, presented an informative presentation on birds of the Southern Hemisphere. Just another beautiful day in the Drake!

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  • South Plaza and Santa Fe Islands

    National Geographic Islander anchors with the first light of the day in front of the iconic Plazas Islands. These are pieces of seafloor that were uplifted millions of years ago, and today are teeming with vibrant life. We explore this island in search of the many species of seabirds that nest here and the unique yellow land iguanas of the Galapagos.

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  • Bartolome and Sombrero Chino Islands

    Bartolome Island, our first stop of the day, is a beautiful site in the middle of the Galapagos. Early in the morning after a dry landing, we started our exploration towards the summit of the volcano. Different volcanic formations as well as some pioneer plants are the only inhabitants of this place. From the top of the island, we had an amazing view of the landscape that has become an iconic scene of this enchanted archipelago.

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  • San Jorge and the Confluence of the Amazon

    Seeing the wilderness of the Amazon is only half the story.  This morning we had the privilege of visiting the San Jorge community on the north banks of the Marañon River.  Kids on their summer vacation greeted us at the dock, and acted as tour guides at their 400-inhabitant village.  We then met with the women of Minga Peru, a NGO focused on women’s empowerment and environmental sustainability.  It was hard leaving such an enlightened village, but today would be our longest day of river navigation of the trip, and we would meet the confluence of the true Amazon River before heading up the Ucayali.

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  • At Sea

    National Geographic Venture departed Cabo San Lucas last night. We sailed all night and all day today, on our way to San Ignacio Lagoon, where we will arrive tomorrow. We had a very nice day, which started with a beautiful sunrise near Isla Santa Margarita, one of the four islands that form Bahia Magdalena. The mountains of these exotic terrains were adorned with thick fog sitting on their summits, and the early morning light made them look spectacular.

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  • Santa Cruz Island

    At 75 degrees Fahrenheit, at 6:45 a.m. in the morning, I knew the day would be warm. Sunny skies were welcome, but at a price!

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  • Cape Horn and the Beagle Channel

    After an entire voyage of largely fine weather and calm seas we awoke to slightly more motion than we had yet experienced. Shortly after 6 a.m. the jagged headland of fabled Cape Horn began to appear out of the mist and low clouds that so often shroud this austere landscape. Flocks of sooty shearwaters, several species of albatrosses, and tiny storm petrels swarmed over the waves, attracted to their prey in these nutrient-rich waters created here by the upwelling of deep ocean currents. As our cozy little ship approached to within three miles of the cape we turned eastward and crossed the imaginary line taking us from the South Pacific into the South Atlantic. With the wind now directly behind us, our ride smoothed out as we made our way toward the eastern entrance to the Beagle Channel.

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  • Santa Cruz Island.

    Today we visited the Island of Santa Cruz for a second day of activities. In the morning, we dropped anchor at Dragon Hill, which is a restored area thanks to a breeding program for land iguanas. Moreover, in the afternoon we stopped by Eden Islet to look for seabirds and juvenile sharks.

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  • Drake Passage Northbound

    The wonders and good luck never stop. Having had a relatively smooth beginning of the voyage heading across the Drake Passage in calm seas and then spectacular weather during our time along the Antarctic Peninsula, we were expecting a different kind of passage northward at the end of the voyage. But once again we were treated to a smooth ride. Leaving the South Shetland Islands our evening was restful and there was no reason for a wake-up call in the morning. People got up when they wanted and wandered down to the dining room for breakfast.  Some may have even decided to sleep through the day’s first meal.

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

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