Daily Expedition Reports

Daily reports from our days in the field


  • Lands End, San Jose del Cabo, and At Sea

    We awoke before sunrise with the National Geographic Sea Lion on approach to the dramatic rocky point of Land's End at the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula. Our morning continued in the town of San Jose del Cabo with walks along the estero [estuary] for birding, then onward into the arts and crafts area of this historic town. Following a delicious dockside deck lunch, we set off into the Sea of Cortez to look for humpback whales. We were richly rewarded with many sightings and great views of a variety of active behaviors including full breaches, chin breaches, lob-tailing, and towards the end what we would consider a competitive group of males moving at high speed.

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  • Magdalena Bay

    National Geographic Sea Lion turned back to the protected waters of Magdalena Bay today after encountering some rocky seas en route to Laguna San Ignacio.  Luckily, our guests understand that this sometimes happens on an expedition!  They greeted the sunshine and calm waters with open arms, ready to take on the day. Some of us celebrated the morning with a stretch class before filling our bellies with breakfast!

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  • Bahia Magdalena and Rough Seas

    Our first morning aboard the National Geographic Sea Lion, we awoke in Bahia Magdalena, surrounded by sand dunes. We were eager to make our first landing here in Baja California Sur and scuttled off of the ship promptly after breakfast. We landed on Isla Magdalena and our bare toes were happy to touch the soft sand. The large dunes hosted succulents and other desert plants, and a variety of different animal prints. We saw prints belonging to jack rabbits, coyotes, lizards, and beetles. After a 25-minute walk across the sand dunes, we reached the Pacific Ocean. The beach along the Pacific is appropriately named Sand Dollar Beach; sand dollar tests could be spotted as far as our eyes could see! With the no collection policy on the beach, beautiful shells and skeletons were available for our viewing enjoyment-what a treat! 

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  • Manuel Antonio National Park

    The last day of our journey, also the last day of the finishing season, had us waking up just off of Manuel Antonio National Park’s white sandy beach and to the calls of the ever so loud howler monkeys.  Manuel Antonio, the smallest and the second most visited national park, after the Poas Volcano, has a lot to offer to all that come ashore. 

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  • Caletas & Corcovado National Park

    Among nature lovers and conservationist, Corcovado National Park is the iconic national park of Costa Rica. Located in the inaccessible and remote Osa Peninsula on the South Western coast of Costa Rica. It is regarded as one of the most pristine protected and diverse parks of the large national park system of this country. It is one of the last places left where people can still dream on finding some of the most elusive and endangered animals of the tropical rainforest, such as tapirs, jaguars, anteaters, and harpy eagles.

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  • Golfo Dulce, Casa Orquideas, Río Tigre

    The sun appeared over the mountains in the distance and while the National Geographic Sea Lion arrived in Golfito where we anchor for a while. After clearing customs, we continued our voyage and relocated at Casa Orquideas where all guess disembark for a pleasant exploration of the gardens own by Trudy and Ron MacAllister. There we got to see a lot of plants swell as several species of birds.  Black mandible toucans, cherries tanagers, red-legged honey creepers and even scarlet macaw nesting where some of the many birds we saw here. 

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  • Coiba National Park

    After crossing the Panama Canal and explore part of the bay we arrived into one of the most important national park of Panama, Coiba. This national park is considered a jewel of the Pacific Ocean of Panama for its beautiful beaches and large extension of coral reef.

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  • Bona and Iguana Islands

    After cruising through the Panama Canal, we dropped anchor early in the morning next to a group of islands in the Bay of Panama. This area is well known to be an important upwelling zone. Here in Bona Island, the trade winds blow the warm surface water allowing the cold currents from the bottom to rise. These waters are rich in nutrients so many seabirds love to roost and nest since there is plenty of food around.

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  • Barro Colorado Island

    This report is based on items found in the tropical jungles from today’s adventure, and more importantly how they could be used in a more sophisticated way.  We start our day aboard the National Geographic Sea Lion, by anchoring in Gatun Lake, near Barro Colorado Island.  Barro Colorado Island, is a great location to observe and study tropical plant and animal life.  The laboratory facility found on Barro Colorado, is managed by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.  We had a chance to venture by foot, and take a walk on the property, and learn about the tropical life on the island.  Individuals not interested in hiking, had a chance to enjoy an expedition landing craft ride, and cruise the shoreline that surrounds the island.

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  • Barro Colorado Island and the Panama Canal

    The last morning of our journey woke us up with the sounds of the howling monkey troops and the keel billed toucans croaking on the tree tops.  Established in 1923, Barro Colorado Island, known as BCI, has been one of the leaders of Neotropical Forests’ Research; along with La Selva Biological Station in Costa Rica and a Manaos Station in Brazil.  BCI is currently supervised by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.  At about 15,6 km² BCI is also the largest island inside Gatun Lake, which was formed between 1911 and 1914 by the damming of the Rio Chagres to form the Canal. 

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