Daily Expedition Reports

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3077 Daily Expedition Report(s) match your criteria

  • Salisbury Plain & Prion Island

    As the fog lifted off the shoreline, the awesome sight and sound of South Georgia’s second-largest king penguin colony at Salisbury Plain came into view. At the height of the season, 60,000 pairs of penguins may raise their young here, with the total colony estimated at 250,000 individuals. Zodiacs zipped us ashore to the abundant welcoming committee that seemed pleased to see us arrive. The king penguins raced rings around the Zodiacs, chirping their welcome. Nearer shore, fur seal pups played in the surf, testing their bravado in the waters, ducking, diving, leaping, and swerving as the Zodiacs landed on the steep, pebbly beach.

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  • Fortuna Bay, South Georgia

    During the night, National Geographic Explorer slowly made her way along the South Georgia coastline and entered Fortuna Bay just before daybreak. The wind conditions were better than forecast, but it was still a little murky outside—rainy with low clouds. Only the highest mountain peaks were visible, stark against the gray skies. Promising weather for us to retrace the last few miles of the Shackleton hike!

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  • Gold Harbour & Drygalski Fjord

    Today began early, with a sunrise landing at Gold Harbour. The beach there was a buzzing metropolis of king penguins, southern elephant seals, Antarctic fur seals, and a plethora of other, less-conspicuous residents—South Georgia pintails and pipets, gentoo penguins, snowy sheathbills, and of course, the ever-present giant petrels and skuas.

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  • St Andrews Bay & Ocean Harbour

    After an early breakfast, we began our landing at St Andrews Bay to visit the largest king penguin colony—home to approximately 150,000 pairs—on South Georgia Island. For some reason, king penguins prefer high-energy beaches. That is, beaches with remarkably strong surf. Today we were amazed. We just drove straight in, like we were parking a car at a convenience store! We typically made stern-first landings, with four to six people to catch and hold the boat

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  • Hercules Bay, Maiviken, and Grytviken

    When we pulled into Hercules Bay early this morning, the 40-knot winds pounding out at sea came to an immediate halt. Out came the kayaks and zodiacs, then, and the guests that boarded them. Such watercraft are ideal for capturing the most intimate vantages of the stark terrain surrounding us. Four species of penguins later, we left the area for afternoon activities. Half of our group landed at Maiviken for an overland hike. A couple hours later, they met the rest of the group at Grytviken whaling station. Here we visited the now-famous whaling museum, a life-size replica of the James Caird, and capped the afternoon visiting the cemetery, where we toasted the famed Antarctic voyager Sir Ernest Shackleton.

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  • South Georgia

    Morning sunshine poured over the silhouetted outlines of Bird Island as we powered toward our destination. The dappled light, like the eyes of god, enhanced and highlighted macaroni penguin rookeries nestled into the hillside. Wandering, black-browed, and grey-headed albatross soared around the ship like paragliders. But it was the hundreds of Antarctic prions, flying around the bow of the vessel, that really captured the imaginations of those on the bridge.

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  • Scotia Sea Toward South Georgia

    The sea state began to moderate early in the day and improved with each passing hour as we made good time across the often-tumultuous Scotia Sea. The near-constant presence of wandering albatross, soaring alongside the ship, added to the relaxed feeling of our passage.  These magnificent birds call this ocean home and make landfall only to breed. With wingspans reaching more than 3.5 meters, wandering albatross have the longest wingspans in the world.

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  • At Sea, Sailing Toward South Georgia

    After a very exciting few days in the Falkland Islands, we relaxed and caught up on rest and photo editing during a day at sea. The waves were mild but not unimpressive and came from a favorable direction—we hardly noticed the motion. All the day’s events—lectures and snack breaks—proceeded according to plan. South Georgia, here we come.

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  • Carcass and Saunders Islands, Falklands

    Our landings today on Carcass and Saunders islands showed us some of the very best of the wild west side of the Falklands. Hiking over grassy hills and along rocky clifftops led us to encounters with endemic songbirds, breeding albatross, and penguins enjoying freshwater showers. As usual, the weather varied from chilly and wind with gray skies to gloriously sunny. To top off our day, we were treated to a classic farm tea at the Carcass Island Settlement—a serious sugar-fest if there ever was one!

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  • New Island, West Falklands

    From the time we arose at 6:15 a.m. to watch the sunrise off New Island in the West Falklands until the time the crescent moon appeared at sunset, we were blessed with an exquisite and enriching day. During the morning, we visited a bustling black-browned albatross and rockhopper penguin colony perched over the crashing sea below. In the afternoon, about 50 of us made our way by foot across this rugged yet stunning island to a gentoo penguin colony and sprawling sandy beach.

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

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