Daily Expedition Reports

Browse photos & daily reports sent from the field every day



242 Daily Expedition Report(s) match your criteria

  • Bernal Glacier and White Narrows

    Today we were greeted by the first sun rays illuminating the ice of Bernal Glacier. National Geographic Orion has sailed into the Montañas Fiord, in which this glacier is located. After breakfast we started our operations to land and hike to the glacier’s terminus, where we could get face to face with ice that is several thousand years in age. We all had a memorable experience by spending the morning in front of this glacier.

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  • Cape Horn, Chile

    Our “bumpy” day on National Geographic Orion began promptly at 7:30 this morning when our expedition leader Doug announced that we have reached the southernmost tip of the South American continent. This destination is known formally as Cape Horn, but more familiarly as the island at end of the world.

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  • Bahía Franklin and Bahía Canepa

    Bahía Franklin or “Franklin Bay” is as much a picturesque anchorage as it is a wellspring for wildlife on this part of the globe. After a night cruising down the Beagle Channel and into the South Atlantic, we arrived just as the sun broke from a scattering of clouds. Because of the generally torrential conditions, National Geographic Orion has only succeeded in landing twice before at this location. Our natural history staff led hikes through the tussock grass to a nearby rockhopper penguin colony. This is the largest and southernmost colony in South America, with approximately 127,000 nesting pairs. Slightly less plentiful are the charming burrowing Magellanic penguins, who also favor the island’s temperate climes. Recent counts show their numbers up by 50% in the last 10 years, with approximately 1,600 nesting pairs.

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  • Cook’s Bay, Staten Island, Argentina

    After a comfortable night at anchor along the shores of Staten Island, we repositioned before breakfast to the narrow and sheltered Cook’s Bay.  This was the location of the second prison on the island, although it was only in operation for a few years around 1900.  Here, we were able to walk completely across the island, enjoying the fantastic scenery of this very special place.

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  • Argentina, Staten Island

    Out of the rough and windy ocean, beyond the curved tip of South America (more precisely – the large island of Tierra del Fuego), the mountains of Staten Island emerge from the sea.  It is as if the Andes are surfacing for a final breath of refreshing air before disappearing beneath the ocean.  In the age of sail, most ships rounding Cape Horn sailed by Staten Island, and many of them wrecked on its shores.  Aside from shipwrecked sailors who made it ashore, about the only people here have been a few sealers, prisoners, Antarctic explorers, scientists, and since 1976 - a very small outpost of the Argentinian Navy.  It is protected as a nature preserve, and we are now among the lucky few to experience the beauty of its wild and rugged landscape.  We explored Hoppner Bay via Zodiac, cruising into a hidden and magical inner bay, where calm waters were surrounded by lush, green vegetation.  Later in the day, we landed near the eastern end of the island to visit ‘the lighthouse at the end of the world,’ then took a short Zodiac cruise to see a rockhopper penguin colony above the wave-swept shore. 

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  • Cape Horn, Chile

    We have reached the southernmost tip of the American continent - the end of the world, Cape Horn!  This is where the waters of the Pacific and Atlantic meet, giving way to the Drake Passage in the south. Here, prevailing westerly winds flow off the Pacific, the famous Roaring Forties and Screaming Fifties, winds and waves, between 40ºC and 60º C latitude which blows almost freely around the globe. The mixing of the waters from the two oceans combined with the strong winds creates very challenging conditions to sail in this region. If there are two words to describe where we were, they are water and wind. Water in all its shapes and forms, flavors and quantities, and winds so powerful that it almost seemed like a symphony from the gods playing in high volume and intensity.

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  • Seno Garibaldi, Chilean Fjords

    Today National Geographic Orion had a lot of ground to cover to get to our next destination. The morning was spent on board as the ship sailed through the channel. The weather was pretty mixed as we have all come to expect from Patagonia, but the clouds and strong winds created some incredible skies with moody and dramatic cloud formations.

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  • Karukinka Reserve and Ainsworth Bay

    After a day at sea navigating some stunning Chilean fjords, we were eager to stretch our legs when we awoke this morning in Karukinka Reserve. This area is governed by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), an organization that works to conserve beauty and biodiversity. Luckily for us, we have a representative of the WCS aboard our ship, so we were able to learn all about this diverse wilderness area.

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  • The Fjords of Chilean Patagonia

    National Geographic Orion departed from Puerto Natales yesterday evening and headed into the maze of spectacularly scenic fjords that characterize southern Patagonia. Puerto Natales, with a population of about 16,000 people, sits about 51.5 degrees south, about as far from the equator as is London, England, in the northern hemisphere. Dinner finished in time for us to gather on deck for dessert and our navigation through White Narrows, a constricted passage that is best transited at slack tide due to exceptional tidal flows at other times during the tidal cycle.

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  • Isla De Los Estados, Argentina

    Our final day of this two-week expedition was a fitting end to our explorations of Patagonia and Isla de Los Estados (Staten Island). So few people have visited Staten Island that every outing was a new adventure, with today serving as the perfect reminder as to why this place is so special. We spent the entire morning cruising the shores of Isla Observatorio, teeming with thousands of seabirds and pinnipeds; every little nook of kelp-covered shoreline and ridge was packed with life. In the afternoon, we set anchor at Puerto Roca on the main island and set out for a leisurely stroll along the fine, sandy beach, taking time to reflect and soak in the magnificent scenery.  

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

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