Explore Central America's Undersea With On Board Tools


On our Central America cruise, as on all our cruises, we have made a firm commitment to explore and highlight the undersea whenever possible, and to accomplish this goal, we’ve equipped our ships with an arsenal of tools: a video microscope, plankton net, and underwater camera.

When we are snorkeling during our Panama and Costa Rica cruise, one of our expert staff takes our high-quality, digital video camera in a state-of-the-art underwater housing out to record images of the undersea, such as reef fish, sea turtles, and the beautiful corals. This footage can then be shown and interpreted in the ship’s lounge sometime later so everyone, swimmer or non-swimmer, can share in the delight and information of this undersea realm. To enhance our presentations, we have also installed a computer system that allows for non-linear digital video editing for ehanced viewing with perhaps music or narration added.

Also on our Central Amercia cruise we have another vital position to our expedition staff: a video chronicler, who accompanies the groups on all excursions. With a state-of-the-art workstation and digital video camera, our chronicler professionally edits and produces a video of the most exciting elements of your voyage. Set to music with skillful narration, this piece memorializes your expedition. Perhaps most notably, the video is available before you disembark. And captured underwater footage is certainly an important part of our on-board presentations. With an array of video equipment and software, our chronicler works with other staff to make our presentations ever more visual and exciting.

Another handy underwater camera is called a “splash-cam.” This underwater video camera attaches to a telescoping pole and is “wired” to the surface. This allows us to deploy a camera where we wouldn’t otherwise choose to send a scuba diver or to simply take a quick look at something of interest or in an area difficult to access by any other means such as among the prop roots of mangroves or at night off the stern where the lights of the ship often attract some interesting visitors.

The National Geographic Endeavour, N.G. Explorer, N.G. Sea Bird, and N.G. Sea Lion which travels the western coast of Central America on our Costa Rica and Panama cruise, are outfitted with electronic charts which allow you to follow the route of the ship on the plasma screen in the lounge throughout the week.

The vessels also have plankton nets onboard. These are cone-shaped nets with small mesh that are used to filter tiny animals, algae, and protozoa from water. These samples can then be viewed using the video microscope, a remarkable tool for any research vessel. These small, microscopic organisms are prepared by our staff so they can be seen and observed on the large screens, real-time, while sitting in the comfort of the lounge. Great for any climate, like our amazing Central America cruise.

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