Daily Expedition Reports

Browse photos & daily reports sent from the field every day




Lastest Expedition Reports

  • Gardner Beach and Punta Suarez

    Today the National Geographic Endeavour II anchored in front of Espanola Island, the oldest island of the archipelago. This is a very unique island, where we can spot many different animals that we cannot find elsewhere in the archipelago, like the albatrosses, endemic mockingbird and lava lizard.

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  • Asau, Savai’i, Samoa

    Samoans are beautiful people. Genuinely welcoming with big hearts and broad smiles. You can’t help but feel at ease with their friendly hospitality. Today we were fortunate to continue our exploration and further immerse ourselves into this affable culture, as National Geographic Orion visited the serene but spirited island of Savaii. Savaii is big but not overwhelmingly big, and so sparsely populated that it’s the perfect setting for an epic day in the heart of Polynesia. A short Zodiac trip to shore delivered us to an adventure tour into the rainforest canopy walk, while some learnt about the humble coconut or submerged into the warm turquoise ocean for a dive. We were also treated to a traditional kava ceremony and dancing performance, followed by a taste of the delicious Samoan food. The traditional Sunday meal was cooked over a ground volcanic rock oven called umu. Truth to their custom and fully embracing different religions, Samoa is a mixture of old tradition and western influence. Savaii is still considered by many to be ‘the real Samoa’, where the old ways of fa’a Samoa are still much alive. Fa'a Samoa is a guideline for every Samoan on how to lead their lives by celebrating and embracing traditional values, their culture and environment. It is an integral part of Samoan life, evident in the time-honoured traditions, warm hospitality, as well as the cultural practices and customs of the Samoan people. Savaii might be the largest of the Samoan islands, but only a fraction of the nation’s population calls this peaceful island their home. To explore Savaii is to travel back in time, to witness the grand forces of nature and to slow the pace of life.

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  • Peril and Chatham Strait

    The day began with mist-shrouded mountains emerging from the ocean. While National Geographic Sea Bird cruised through the narrow passages of Peril Strait we saw the distant blow of a juvenile humpback whale before it disappeared below the waves. As we left Peril Strait and joined Chatham Strait, we quietly watched a bachelor group of Steller sea lions relax on the channel marker buoy. We observed the quite gathering as one of their fellow pinnipeds looked for an invitation to join his lazy brethren. Our destination lay farther north and we pressed on.

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  • Trapani (to Erice), Sicily, Italia

    Today we visit the beautiful medieval town of Erice, which looks out proudly from high above the city of Trapani in the northwest corner of Sicily

  • Supay River

    This morning on the Supay River and Iricahua Creek we added not only to our list of sightings for birds, we added to our mammal, reptile and butterfly list as well.  All of these sightings are wonderful to behold, but another sense was utilized and that was sound.  We have gravitated from pointing and asking “what is that bird?” to quietly listening and inquiring “who makes that call?”  This is a full sensory experience, and we have put all of our senses to work.  From the rainforest comes the camu camu fruit, which we have enjoyed as a fresh juice each morning.  We have feasted our eyes with the landscape and its wild inhabitants.  The sounds of the forest have enchanted us, from the high-pitched squeaks of the squirrel monkeys to the low donkey like brays of the Horned Screamers.  Into the black waters we have literally dove in and swam amongst the pink river dolphins and their explosive flatulence-sounding exhalations.  

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  • San Cristóbal: Punta Pitt & Cerro Brujo

    Today we got closest to the mainland and to one of the oldest islands of the Archipelago. Punta Pitt and San Cristóbal Island respectively.

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  • Apia, Upolu, Samoa

    Today we arrive at a magical island, trapped in between the past and the future. The traditions, the way of living, and how the people understand the world, are in contrast with tourism and social evolution. Apia was originally a small village, from which the country’s capital took its name. The morning started with a moment to learn about the past in the local cultural village. We were part of a “tapa tradition”, which is the way the ancestors created fibers, clothes, and many more practical resources. Tapa cloth (or simply tapa) is a barkcloth made in the islands of the Pacific Ocean, primarily in Tonga, Samoa, and Fiji, but as far afield as Niue, cook islands, Futuna, Solomon Islands, Java, New Zealand, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, and Hawaii (where it is called kapa). In French Polynesia it has nearly disappeared, except for some villages in the Marquesas that continue with the tradition.

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  • Tracy Arm-Ford’s Terror Wilderness Area

    This morning the ship traveled up Endicott Arm, weaving its way through floating ice to arrive at the face of Dawes’ Glacier, deep within the Tracy Arm Ford’s-Terror Wilderness Area. Dawes’ Glacier terminates in the water as a sheer wall of ice, allowing for stunning views of its cool, blue color. The glacier is actively calving, dropping massive chunks of ice into the water below. We boarded our zodiacs for a closer look and encountered cascading waterfalls, curious harbor seals, arctic terns, and a thunderous show from the glacier itself.

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  • Mazara del Vallo (to Selinunte and Marsala) Sicily, Italia

    After anchoring off Mazara del Vallo, our morning excursion took us to the ancient city of Selinunte, an important Greek colony in the 7th-3rd centuries B.C. The partially reconstructed Temple of Hera provided an excellent overview of temple architecture and gave us the rare opportunity to walk through a Classical Greek temple. We then took advantage of the pleasant weather to hike through fields of spring flowers to the site’s Acropolis, once the center of public life in ancient Selinunte.

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  • Pavlof Harbor and Peril Strait

    We had amazing weather these past two weeks and our last day was no exception.The sun was shining and we were able to have fantastic hikes through the forest at Pavlof Harbor. The hikes along the river offered great views of the past saltery and cannery operations. We sailed through the Peril Strait with the setting sun, bringing us closer to Sitka.

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

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