Daily Expedition Reports

Daily reports from our days in the field

  • Gros Morne, Newfoundland

    We arrived in Bonne Bay to a beautiful sunrise off the coast of Newfoundland. After breakfast we landed in Woody Point to begin our explorations of this magnificent national park. Some of us hiked up to the Big Lookout while others went to explore the Tablelands. The Tablelands represent a unique piece of the earth’s mantle that has been thrust up onto the North American continent by tectonic processes. The distinctive yellow-brown peridotite rocks dominate the landscape. The yellow-brown color is just a surface feature where the iron minerals in the rock have oxidized. The Tablelands are almost barren of plants due to toxic minerals and a lack of nutrients. In this harsh environment we found Newfoundland’s provincial flower, the pitcher plant. This plant captures and digests plants to supplement its diet! Because of its unique character, the Tablelands are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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  • Îles de la Madeleine, Quebec

    Our day started out cool and grey but very pleasant. Guests loaded into buses and toured the island. Our first stop was to the Musée de la Mer in La Grave to see history exhibits of the fishing on the island. Hanging in the entrance of the museum is the skelton of a sperm whale.

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  • Louisbourg and Baddeck, Nova Scotia

    Early this morning, as we made our approach to the small dock at Louisbourg, the sun peeked out, for just a moment, from behind minimal clouds to sparkle as a crimson streak on the steel-gray water of the bay. A seaward blowing breeze carried the faint scent of autumnal decay, the seasonal change announced by the tannin tinted foliage of deciduous trees peppering the coastal fringe framing the small settlement.

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  • Saint Pierre, France

    We started our expedition with excellent sailing conditions. A beautiful day outside, calm seas, and inspiring speakers on board. Our photo team gave us a presentation on expedition photography followed by the very warm, well-known, and admired voice of Robert Siegel.

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  • Twillingate, Newfoundland

    Guests awoke as the ship navigated its way into Twillingate. Those that made it onto the bridge were welcomed by bald eagles and stunning views of the two islands that make up Twillingate as we approached our anchorage. Once again, the weather gods were looking down fondly on us as we managed to avoid any rain as guests made their way to shore for scenic tours and hikes.

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  • L’Anse aux Meadows and St. Anthony, Newfoundland

    We received a wonderfully warm welcome when we landed early this morning at the small harbor at L’Anse aux Meadows, on the northern coast of Newfoundland. Our focus was an exploration of the nearby UNESCO World Heritage archaeological site, where in the early 1960s the only so far authenticated Viking settlement in North America was discovered. Excavations revealed the outline remains of nine habitation and workshop structures which formed a Norse base camp, in addition to a number of characteristic artifacts including a stone spindle whorl, iron ship nails and a bronze ring-headed pin. The site of L’Anse aux Meadows, occupied around 1,000 A.D. for only a short period, marks the westernmost limit of Norse exploration. Evidence for the smelting of iron was also discovered in the guise of a small smithy. The source of the metal was the locally available bog iron ore which appears to have been fashioned into ship nails that were used during repairs to their sea-going vessels.

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  • Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland

    Gros Morne is the largest national park in Atlantic Canada. The flora and fauna are incredibly beautiful and the whole place shines with the glow only a protected natural area can give off. While there is still a smattering of infrastructure around, the rawness of the place has been preserved. Yet, neither the trees and shrubs, nor the deer and moose really make this area the gorgeous icon that it is; in fact it is the geology of Gros Morne which deemed it worthy of conservation. The earth, structured like an onion, has layers. The crust is the outer husk and for human purposes is where all the action takes place, but in some places the next layer down, the mantle, has thrust through. Miles below the surface of the ocean lies the ocean mantle and four hundred million years ago that rock surfaced and shoved its way up on dry land’s crust. It has given scientists a boon of information about the inner workings of our planet. It is for this reason that the park holds the prestigious title of being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is the reason the National Geographic Explorer visited it today.

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  • Isles de la Madeleine, Quebec, Canada

    We arrived this morning in the beautiful Magdalen Islands (Isles de la Madeleine) named by Francois Doublet after his beloved wife Madeleine Fontaine in 1663.

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  • Cape Breton: Louisbourg & Baddeck

    This morning as we explored the impressive Fortress of Louisbourg, we were guided by costumed interpreters who talked to us about their lives at the fort in the mid-1700s. We then traveled through scenic countryside to the town of Baddeck, on the shore of Bras d’Or Lake. We visited the Alexander Graham Bell Museum, one of Canada’s premier National Historic Sights, and we saw some of his amazing inventions relating to sound and aviation. Lastly, we went for a lovely sail on a local boat, and were entertained by a colorful captain.

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  • Saint Pierre & Miquelon, Newfoundland

    Our first day of expedition, and although we are more than 2000 miles away from France, our afternoon started with: “Bonjour!” We just arrived in Saint Pierre et Miquelon, a French overseas territory. It is actually the only remains of the former colonial empire of New France still under French control.

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