Daily Expedition Reports

Daily reports from our days in the field

  • Lerwick, Shetland Islands and North Sea

    Alas, our last day of the voyage has come upon us. We spent a quiet night alongside the harbor of Lerwick, the main city on the Shetland Islands. This morning we were up and about early to ready ourselves for the morning activities on offer, which included a wildlife hike, an archaeological outing and a city highlights walk. We happily ate our breakfast and with our engines well stoked, we set off for the day.

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  • Fair Isle and Mousa Broch, Scotland

    We sailed overnight to the tiny and remote island of Fair Isle, set midway between the Shetland Islands and Orkney Islands. A little over three miles long and two miles wide, it has been occupied since the Bronze Age in 3000 B.C. The island currently has  a close-knit population of roughly 70 people who live on small family farms, known locally as crofts. Renowned for its rugged coastal beauty, it is also famous for its distinctive and internationally acclaimed style of knitting. The unique Fair Isle knitting style was developed on the island centuries ago when the womenfolk found a ready demand for their knitwear with passengers and sailors on passing ships, which they bartered with for everyday and luxury items. The combinations of different colored wools make Fair Isle garments most attractive and there’s always a demand for sweaters. 

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  • Orkney, Scotland

    While now considered to be quite a remote area, Orkney was in many ways a focal point of civilization in the Neolithic Age. Situated on a maritime crossroads between the North Sea and the Atlantic, Orkney was at the center of the northwest European maritime world at a time when communication by sea was far more efficient than by land. This morning we visited two iconic sites relating to this period: Skara Brae, and the Ring of Brodgar.

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  • Isle of Lewis, Scotland

    “I never knew there was such beauty in these cold waters.”  –Lindblad Guest

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  • Iona & Staffa, Scotland

    We dropped anchor a short distance from our landing spot on Iona Island early this morning. Low-lying grey clouds cleared as we boarded our Zodiacs and made our way ashore. Our principle focus was an exploration of the impressive renovated Benedictine abbey and the ruins of an Augustinian nunnery, both of which were established in the early 13th century. The abbey was built on the site where St. Columba originally founded a simple early Christian monastery in sixth century A.D. Of royal lineage in his native Donegal in Ireland, Columba began studying for a religious life from an early age. Prior to founding Iona in 563 A.D., he had already established a number of monasteries in Ireland, including Kells and Durrow, both of which were to become famous for the illuminated manuscripts that were produced by skilled and learned monks belonging to those particular religious communities. The main reason why St. Columba had established a monastery on Iona was to convert the Picts Celts who controlled the northern region of Scotland. This is an exceptionally special place and the very stones seem to exude serenity and peace.

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  • Sligo & Donegal, Ireland

    The streak of warm, clear weather continued, catching the unpredictable side of Irish weather in our favor. We disembarked at Mullaghmore, a village on the Mullaghmore Peninsula in County Sligo. Some of the group went to Lissadell House, a spectacular neo-classical house and garden that is famous for its associations with activist and revolutionary Constance Markievicz, and poet William Butler Yeats. Others took in sights such as Glencar Waterfall and Medb's Cairn, as well as just enjoying the incredible beauty of the landscape and rich heritage of this part of Ireland.

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  • Connemara, Ireland

    Our run of glorious weather continued today. We approached the seaside village of Roundstone in Connemara, County Galway, in mirror-calm sea conditions and with brilliant blue skies above us. We had a variety of activities organized for the day to cater for all tastes. For those wanting to stretch their legs they could go for a hike in the magnificent setting of the Connemara hills and valleys. We also had an archeology tour on offer, which took a closer look at the evidence of early Irish settlers across the whole western seaboard of Ireland. There was also the opportunity for guests to simply walk around the village and get a feel for the culture and history.

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  • Aran Islands, Ireland

    Today we explored the Aran Islands, once again enjoying blue skies and warm, sunny weather. The Aran Islands stretch across the mouth of Galway Bay in Western Ireland and consist of three islands: Inis Mór (Large Island), Inis Meáin (Middle Island), and Inis Oírr (Eastern Island).

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  • Skellig Islands and Dingle

    It is sometimes the case that as a staff member, you do not have the time to look outside before heading out for the days adventure. You may have gear to prepare, or meet a guest with questions, or a host of other circumstances that keeps you in the dark about what lies outside the hull of the ship. This morning was one of those times for me. My first glance of the outside was when I was at the side gate, getting into my zodiac to prepare it for the guests that would soon be climbing aboard for the morning outing. Before me was the open ocean. I stowed the lines, checked my fuel, and then began to motor to the other side of the ship where the island of Little Skellig would be in my sight. As I rounded the bow I started to hear the calls of seabirds and then, coming into view was the sight of tens of thousands of northern gannets swirling above this island of rock. It was an overwhelming experience. As I came to my senses, I took note of my surroundings as the awe of the moment slowing started to sink in. Lines of gannets came into the island, returning from their wanderings at sea. Then, for every bird that returned home, another, on a ledge, would take flight to return to the sea, for its turn at feeding. On the island, each layer of stratified sandstone was filled with birds, each finding its special spot on which to make its nest. For the next few months, this rock will be the site of a wildlife spectacle of new life, and death, before, nesting season over, the birds leave it on its own, a lonely outpost in the throes of the North Sea. Once the guests had joined me, we motored around Little Skellig for a closer look. Swirls of birds flew above us, and grey seals swam as close to us as they dared before making their get-away with a splash. Our time at the colony went quickly, and then it was time to return to the ship for the rest of the morning.

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  • Cobh, Ireland

    Today was our first day in Ireland. We entered the large harbor of Cork to visit the village of Cobh. Cork Harbor is the second largest natural harbor in the world, after Sydney, Australia.

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