Daily Expedition Reports

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Lastest Expedition Reports

  • Bartolome and Sombrero Chino Islands

    The National Geographic Endeavour II explores the volcanic shores of Bartolome Island today; this is one of the most volcanic and young land formations in the Galapagos. Our guests will have the opportunity not only to experience the overwhelming landscape on land but also to enter the underwater realm at this location, which also happens to be a nesting site for the Galapagos penguin and home of multicolored fish and invertebrates. Sombrero Chino is a small volcanic cone eroded by weather, in between this formation and the main Island Santiago, there is a great snorkel site and our guests have another great opportunity to spot the Galapagos penguin.

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  • Corpach and Oban, Scotland

    Flotillas of mallards observed us as we left Corpach Basin and entered the sea lock, bidding farewell to the Caledonian Canal which has been our home since the start of our voyage. Now we were at sea, or at least in an arm of the sea known as Loch Linnhe (In Scotland a loch can be either a freshwater lake or a saltwater fjord). As we sailed out, Konia, our cultural specialist, gave a talk on the lighthouses of Scotland. Several generations of one family of engineers – the Stevenson’s – were responsible for the construction of these life-saving beacons around the coastline over a period of 150 years. Their most famous son, Robert Louis Stevenson, was something of a disappointment to the family as he did not follow in their engineering footsteps. Soon we were passing Corran Lighthouse, which was completed by the Stevenson’s in 1860.

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  • Glacier Bay National Park

    Bright yellow and orange bits dot the rocky fiord walls in the northern portion of this great and storied bay, prompting us to contemplate the turning of the year. Fall is beginning here in Southeast Alaska, and the brightly hued leaves make the scenery even more dramatic. Early risers carried their coffee to the bow as we rounded Jaw Point to behold the inspiring view of the Johns Hopkins Glacier winding its way up toward the well-named Fairweather Mountains. That 15,000 foot high coastal range keeps this glacier fed with year round snow and stable (neither advancing nor receding).

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  • Southeast rainy day in Cross Sound Alaska

    The rain may have returned, but we continue our journey unabated. As it rained we were once again reminded that southeast Alaska is a temperate rain forest and that in order to cherish her beauty, we must be willing to get wet.

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  • Inian Islands & Fox Creek

    Our naturalist Steve Morello says that rainy weather brings the wildlife out, and Thursday did not disappoint.  Before our breakfast of smoked salmon and toad in a hole, the young naturalist aboard spotted a humpback whale, porpoises, and bald eagles off the port deck.   We dropped anchor amongst the Inian Islands, within one of the world’s largest protected wilderness areas.  Our morning zodiac tour brought us directly face to face with a lively population of Stellar sea lions, who frequent the area for its rich population of salmon returning to the islands to spawn.  Sea birds such as mew gulls and cormorants are gathered around the sea lions to feast on the off catch.  The sea lions are very curious and popped their heads up while gathering around our boat to see what we were up to.  Two males on the rocks were vociferously engaged in a dispute.  A short distance away, a population of sea otters was well camouflaged amidst the kelp while feasting on a sea urchin brunch.  The rain also brought good fortune.  As our group was leaving the area, one of our shipmates spotted the blow of a small humpback whale, just fifty feet off starboard.  The whale was gracious enough to present us with a fluke before diving down below.  Before returning to the ship, we paid a visit to the Inian Island Institute, a sustainable ecology and experiential education center in Hobbit Hole. Afternoon hikes at Fox Creek on Chichagof Island allowed us to explore the area on foot. Some of our group went on a photo walk and others took a kayak tour of the bay.   We discovered perennial bear tracks near a salmon stream as well as a scratching tree and a salmon abandoned in the woods.  These tracks, sometimes named “Hot Feet” locally, represent a trail where bears return to step in each other’s footprints.  Naturalists think that the hot feet may serve as a pheromone based communication system similar to those that dogs use on their habitual walking paths.  After our return, our two Grosvenor Teacher Fellows, Kacy Lebby and Elisabeth Gambino, worked with our young naturalists to microscopically examine the plankton samples collected at Kelp Bay last night.  The young naturalists used ship based texts to catalogue and illustrate the zooplankton identified from the plankton tow and presented them to the ship during the daily recap.  The evening came to an enjoyable close when local author Kim Heacox came aboard to regale us with songs stories, and to talk to us about his books. 

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  • Santa Cruz Island

    Today we visited Santa Cruz Island on the northern side, a place known as Dragon Hill where the Galapagos National Park reintroduced land iguanas successfully decades ago. We walked along a trail after a dry landing and a brackish lagoon allowed us to see marine iguanas, pintail ducks, black-necked stilts and sanderlings. Further inland we spotted several yellow land iguanas on both sides of the trail. Land iguanas have no food source but for the opuntia cactus pads and because of this, we usually found them near the cactus trees waiting patiently for a pad to fall.

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  • Santa Cruz Island

    The National Geographic Islander dropped anchor on the Island of Santa Cruz, the second largest island in the archipelago. We had the opportunity to visit the most emblematic place in the islands, the breeding centre for Giant tortoises. Also, the town of Puerto Ayora gave our guests a good idea of how the locals cohabitate with the unique species of the Galapagos. We spent the afternoon in the highlands of Santa Cruz visiting one of the largest lava tunnels in the world, we visited a local school which is sponsored by Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic, and toured a local coffee farm where they also produce moonshine.

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  • Along the Caledonian Canal and to Glenfinnan

    Sailing along the canal this morning was a real joy. There is a magic about this waterway, as you travel along quietly enjoying the views of the hills and taking photographs of the reflections in the water. Our journey took us through Kytra and Cullochy locks to the highest point of the canal, Loch Oich, which is at a 106 feet above sea level. From here we continued through Laggan Avenue, a scenic length of the canal built by piling soil on the banks anchored and stabilised by trees and shrubs, so nowadays you sail through a forest—on a cruise ship!

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  • Flatey and the Westfjords

    "In the vegetable garden of music," noted Icelandic singer-songwriter and storyteller Svavar Knutur, "I am broccoli." In his efforts to encourage us to sing along with him, he was trying to make a point about the positive effects of singing on brain health. "Singing is one of the most challenging activities for the brain. Almost as difficult as talking while playing guitar," he said while playing guitar.

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

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