Daily Expedition Reports

Daily reports from our days in the field


  • Wallace Island, British Colombia

    Water droplets on the portholes this morning did not bode well for our planned morning hike. However, the rain gave way to sunshine during breakfast and we stashed our rain hats and broke out the sunglasses as we loaded into Zodiacs in preparation for hiking on Wallace Island Marine Provincial Park. This island is small in size but big in both character and natural beauty.

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  • Victoria, British Columbia

    Sunrise this morning was a multitude of grays as we pulled into Victoria, our first stop in British Columbia. After clearing customs we split into groups to explore this beautiful city by foot, bike, and bus. Those of us with green thumbs hopped onto a bus and went into the neighborhoods near the coast, learning about the history and architecture as we went by. We visited three gardens, learning about arrangements, species, and care. One of the gardens recently hosted Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge during their visit to Victoria, complete with roses, flowers, trees, and 20,000 volunteer hours to make the place tick!

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  • Cruising the San Juans & Sucia Island

    We awoke as the ship cruised north along the western shore of San Juan Island. The sun had just broken over the island’s crest, as we breasted Lime Kiln Park, and approached Mosquito Pass. Clear blue skies and warm temperatures were an unseasonable treat we had not dared to expect. And yet here we were sipping coffee on the bow, in our shirt sleeves at the crack of dawn.  

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  • Great Bear Rainforest & Klewnuggit Inlet, British Columbia

    We spent our first evening anchored overnight in a calm, steep-walled inlet before setting sail at dawn. We headed north along Fraser Reach and Grenville Channel, the latter of which was named by Captain George Vancouver during the Vancouver Expedition (1791-1795).

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  • Port Althorp and George Island, Alaska

    The National Geographic Sea Lion found herself in the protected bay of Port Althorp on Tuesday morning. Guests aboard had several options of activity, from hiking ranging from a bushwhacking good time all the way to a more leisurely short walk, with an emphasis on photography. The afternoon offered fantastic hikes on George Island, a small forested bit of land buffered by the Pacific Ocean. George Island is home to a variety of Alaskan flora and fauna, as well as a fantastically rich underwater world.

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  • Khutze Inlet, British Columbia, Canada

    Today we woke in the Jackson Passage to a beautiful and calm sunny day. We made our way towards the Khutze Inlet through the Tolmie Channel in calm waters, surrounded by striking snow-capped mountains. After lunch we arrived at our destination in the Khutze Inlet, near a small meadow and towering waterfall. We explored the waters by kayak and walked through the meadow looking for wildlife while enjoying the bounty of nature that surrounded us.

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  • Astoria, Oregon

    At 0600 hours the intrepid National Geographic Sea Bird, with Captain Kay at the helm, was making her way west through pouring rain toward Pier 2 at Astoria, Oregon. At 0730 hours we docked just across from the giant bulk carrier ship, the Yochow. For the last day of our voyage we had true Lewis and Clark weather such as they and their Corps of Discovery endured during the winter of 1805-6 at Fort Clatsop, which was quite fitting since right after breakfast we set out for the fort. Today we were given a tour by a ranger and then took a nature walk in the woods with naturalists Rich and Grace. Rich showed us a rough-skinned newt and a banana slug and Grace described the trees and other plants as we walked down a path beneath towering Sitka spruce trees.

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  • Hood River, Oregon

    Today was spent exploring the best of what Hood River, Oregon has to offer from spectacular hiking, beer tasting, vintage museum and an educational dam tour. We started our morning with the choice of hiking the "Twin Tunnels" of Mosier along the Historic Columbia River Highway. Built in the early 1920s, the tunnels were closed and sealed after the construction of Interstate 84. The original highway was promoted by Sam Hill and engineer Samuel C. Lancaster to be modeled after the great scenic roads of Europe. The roadway took full advantage of all the natural beauty along the route overlooking the Columbia River from 600 feet above with grandiose views of Oregon and Washington. The other option was to visit the popular Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum (WAAAM) that has one of the largest collections of still-flying antique aeroplanes and still-driving antique automobiles in the country.  At last count there were over 130 antique cars in the collection that spans four large airplane hangers. Our next stop on this busy day in Hood River was the world famous Full Sail Brewing Company for beer tasting and brewery tour.  Founded in 1987, Full Sail was the first commercially successful craft brewery to bottle beer in the Pacific Northwest for retail sale, and one of Oregon's early microbreweries.

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  • The Dalles, Oregon

    At 0600 hrs under starry skies the National Geographic Sea Bird locked through the John Day Dam. The John Day is the highest lift lock in the United States and here we dropped 110 feet to the level of the downstream water. The great guillotine gate rose and we sailed under it and continued down the mighty Columbia River. Before we reached The Dalles Dam two hours downriver we were treated to the sight of Mount Hood, a great stratovolcano of the Cascade Range rising high in the south. The morning sun struck the snow-covered mountain and it glowed pink in the morning light—alpenglow. At The Dalles Dam many of us were up and on the deck to watch the lock operation. We sailed on and were soon docked at The Dalles and ready for our morning adventures.

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