Daily Expedition Reports

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1114 Daily Expedition Report(s) match your criteria

  • Beqa Island, Fiji

    After an action packed fortnight exploring Polynesia and Melanesia, guests enjoyed a more leisurely morning on board National Geographic Orion. As we made our way towards Beqa Island guests listened to lectures by Guest Speaker Joe McGuiness and Naturalist Jimmy White. Those that ventured to the bow recorded a great variety of seabirds over the flat calm sea conditions.

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  • Vanua Balavu

    Located 355km east of Nadi and about halfway to Tonga, Vanua Balavu is Fiji’s third biggest island and considered one of the most scenic. This unexplored remote region is renowned for its mushroom shaped islands and pristine waters, where commercial fishing is not allowed. Most of islands are made of limestone and a few are volcanic. Interrupted periods of uplift have permitted the corals to grow, creating a fantastic opportunity for snorkeling, diving, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and swimming. The alluring warm and emerald green sea was the perfect invitation for guests to take a plunge into this tropical paradise. With our beautiful National Geographic Orion ship safely anchored, we set to explore and cruise around this maze of islands surrounded by calm waters. We were pleasantly surprised by our “Zodiac bar”, strategically placed to quench our thirst. Cocktails in hand, we learnt about the interesting geological mushroom formations and how they acquired their peculiar shapes. Water erosion and the persistent grazing action of small mollusks called chitons are responsible for these fascinating features. In colloquial language, chitons are also called coat-of-mail, their shell resembling the segmental armour on a knight's gauntlet. These marine creatures have powerful teeth coated with magnetite, a hard ferric/ferrous oxide mineral. The radula, or teeth, is used to scrape microscopic algae of the substratum and the foraging action slowly carves into the limestone walls. Other marine creatures were also spotted. Sharks, turtles, and colorful fish were found gently cruising around the islands, framed by hard and soft corals.

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  • Taveuni Island, Fiji

    Our arrival in Fiji this morning brought us into a different world—out of the great triangle of Polynesia and into the first of the large islands of Melanesia. On the beautiful garden island of Taveuni we were welcomed into a traditional village with a kava ceremony presided over by the regional chiefs. It was a serious, solemn ritual, followed by some very lighthearted dance performances from the school children. After a delicious snack of local specialties we had a choice of remaining in the village for music and handicrafts or a short hike to a lovely waterfall and swimming hole.

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  • Futuna, East ‘Uvea

    As the sun rose on another day in paradise, National Geographic Orion made its way between Futuna and Alofi, the destination for the day’s activities. The morning’s itinerary took guests on a tour of the beautiful island of Futuna, visiting a cannibal oven and the Cathedral of Poi whilst accompanied by friendly islanders. After a morning basking in the sun, most guests were itching to get in the water and the island of Alofi gave them the perfect opportunity.

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  • Wallis, East ‘Uvea

    National Geographic Orion navigated the narrow channel entrance to the Wallis Island Atoll. With incredible early morning light and a calm sea state we were all on deck to take in the view. After an incredible morning of exploring Wallis Island, we headed to a small motu for an afternoon of kayaking, snorkeling, and stand-up paddleboarding.

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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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  • 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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  • At Sea Approaching Samoa

    Our second day at sea brought us within sight of American Samoa as we continued our transit on to Samoa.  Our day was filled with presentations, seabirds, and flying fish, and most importantly a ceremony of crossing the date line filled with marvelous music.  Kura Happ blew our minds with her island vibes as we entered tomorrow.

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  • At Sea, En Route to Western Samoa

    A day at sea offers a rare treat: relaxation. Disconnected from the world and far from any shore, today was our first of two days crossing the vast Pacific Ocean en route from the Cook Islands to Samoa. As the deep blue ocean waters slide swiftly beneath the hull of National Geographic Orion, we can only imagine how the ancient people of this region traversed such distances in wooden canoes. Our journey is infinitely more comfortable…what did those ancient wayfarers do without air conditioning, fine dining, and bottomless cookie jars?

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  • Aitutaki, Cook Islands

    The first rays of sunlight revealed the beautiful big island of Aitutaki. The atoll is famous for its scenic lagoon which we spent the day exploring. The history of Aitutaki is fascinating with many people believing the 2000 people current residence are descended from a great warrior named Ru. Ngaa Kitai Taria, the island’s Director of Cultural Studies, showcased the rich history of Aitutaki on tours of the island throughout the day before joining us aboard National Geographic Orion for an energy-filled special appearance at the evening’s recap.

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

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