Daily Expedition Reports

Daily reports from our days in the field

  • 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). This particular portion of the Inside Passage runs alongside islands that are home to the rare Kermode bear, or spirit bear, a rare subspecies of the American black bear with white or cream coats. Read More

  • 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.. Read More

  • 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.. Read More

  • Lake Eva and Chatham Strait

    For our last day of exploration we woke up near the mouth of Peril Strait, a long, twisting waterway between Baranof and Chichagof Islands. Read More

  • 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.The Columbia River Maritime Museum, one of the best maritime museums in the country, was our second morning stop. Read More

  • Hood River, Oregon Video

    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. This led us up to lunch when we boarded the National Geographic Sea Bird and headed downstream through the scenic Columbia River Gorge to Cascade Locks where we met our buses for the afternoon activities. Read More

  • 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.We boarded our coaches and drove to the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center. Read More

  • Snake River and Lower Monument Dam

    Last night we left Clarkston, Washington and headed west down the Snake River transiting Lower Granite and Little Goose Dams before the dawn. What an absolutely perfect day of weather and activities on the Palouse and Lower Snake Rivers. We anchored the National Geographic Sea Bird in the Palouse River amongst the towering walls of basalt cliffs. Our short bus ride took us across the stark Channeled Scablands that were formed after several massive Ice Age floods scoured this barren landscape. The Palouse Falls is an impressive 186-foot waterfall that appears to flow out of the desert and has carved a deep, narrow canyon in basalt created by ancient volcanic eruptions. Early season rain plus last year’s fire has turned the Palouse River into a lush palette of greenery and fall colors—a photographer’s dream. Back on the river, guests chose between kayaking on the glassy waters and taking a scenic ride on expedition landing craft into the tule marsh to view wildlife. After lunch we reached Lower Monument Dam on the Snake River on this exceptionally sunny and warm day. Read More

  • Clarkston, Washington and Hells Canyon

    On the first morning of our voyage we left the National Geographic Sea Bird on the dock at Clarkston, Washington, and boarded jet boats for an exciting journey into Hells Canyon. Rugged and remote, Hells Canyon is the deepest river-cut canyon in North America; here the Seven Devil Mountains rise as high as 8,000 feet above the Snake River. As we left Clarkston we saw Canada geese, mallards, and American coots foraging along the river shore. A special treat was a quick view of a pair of colorful wood ducks on the river’s edge.Our first stop was across the river from Asotin (Place of Eels), Washington. Read More

  • Clarkston, Washington; Hells Canyon

    Under cloudy skies at 0600 hrs the National Geographic Sea Bird was making her way toward Clarkston, Washington, with an ETA of 0703 hrs. Captain Kay was at the helm and we docked right on schedule. Immediately after breakfast we boarded jet boats for an exciting journey into Hells Canyon. Rugged and remote, Hells Canyon is the deepest, river-cut canyon in North America; here the Seven Devil Mountains rise as high as 8,000 feet above the Snake River. Our first stop was across the river from Asotin (Place of Eels), Washington. Here we marveled at the most amazing outcrop of columnar basalt where perfect hexagonal columns rise above the river. This is part of the Columbia River Basalt Province through which we have been sailing. Soon after this interesting stop, our jet boat captain spotted a small herd of Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep on the steep hillside above the river and we stopped for a good look at these beautiful creatures. It is rutting season and a magnificent ram with heavy and curved horns was with a herd of ewes and a younger ram.As we proceeded on up the river, high cliffs formed of layer after layer of basaltic lava flows rose high above us. Read More

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