Daily Expedition Reports

Daily reports from our days in the field


  • Sucia Island, Washington

    On our last day aboard National Geographic Sea Bird, we made way to Sucia Island. There we landed in the morning for our last shore-based activities. Some guests hiked the island, looking for subjects of photographic interest, while others enjoyed the beautiful scenery and sunshine. In the afternoon, we cruised around the San Juan Islands, looking for wildlife. As night fell, we docked in a small bay and watched the sunset for the last time on this beautiful voyage.

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  • Friday Harbor, Washington

    Today we awoke next to Spieden Island, en route to a very special location on San Juan Island. Friday Harbor is a small, seasonal town filled with interesting shops and several walking docks. A local harbor seal is famous and frequently is seen perusing the docks. Friday Harbor is home to The Whale Museum where we had the opportunity to learn about the wonderful wildlife that lives in the San Juans. Guests were invited to the polyculture land of Aurora Farms, where we interacted with animals and experienced life on a farm. 

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  • Victoria, British Columbia

    In normal conditions for the Pacific Northwest in October, the fog was thick as we pulled into Victoria Harbour in the early morning. As luck would have it, the fog lifted after breakfast and we were rewarded with what became a beautiful day.

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  • Desolation Sound, British Columbia

    Desolation Sound may have a rather bleak name, but the reality is far from it. For Captain George Vancouver to have stated, “There was not a single prospect that was pleasing to the eye,” does somewhat put into question his appreciation of natural beauty. We spent the morning here exploring the rocky intertidal zone via kayak, inflatable boat, or our own ship, soaking in the landscape from the comfort of National Geographic Sea Bird.

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  • Desolation Sound, British Columbia

    Desolation Sound may have a rather bleak name, but the reality is far from it. For Captain George Vancouver to have stated, “There was not a single prospect that was pleasing to the eye,” does somewhat put into question his appreciation of natural beauty. We spent the morning here exploring the rocky intertidal zone via kayak, inflatable boat, or our own ship, soaking in the landscape from the comfort of National Geographic Sea Bird.

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  • Black Fish Sound & Alert Bay

    The constellation Orion was still visible in the sky as National Geographic Sea Bird entered Black Fish Sound, a body of water that runs along the mainland of British Columbia inside Johnstone Strait. The sun began rising in the east just after 8 a.m. on another clear, fall day. Looking all around National Geographic Sea Bird in every direction one could spot humpback whales. The air wasfilled with the sound of common murres who landed on the sea around our ship and then dove rapidly out of the way. All kinds of wildlife were feeding in the rich waters of this sound. The humpbacks were lunging across the surface, taking in huge gulps of water and small fish. The murres were catching the same small fish one at a time. To add to the experience, the long shadows of fall light were gorgeous! Backlit whale blows, diving birds, and distant mountains all showed off the beauty of this place.

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  • Astoria, Oregon

    Another beautiful sunny day greets us. Well no, not quite. This morning we saw the results of our closeness to the ocean, fog. All day the mist hung in the air obscuring long views and giving us the real Lewis and Clark experience. The mist didn’t turn to rain, just fine, tiny bits of water that hung above us in the sky.

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  • Tenedos Bay, British Columbia

    The fog was thick as we made our way into Desolation Sound Marine Provincial Park. We scanned the sound before breakfast, looking for the telltale vertical columns of haze that would signal the presence of our cetacean quarry in the pre-dawn chill, yet none were seen. After an early morning session of watching from the bow, it was time to come in for breakfast and a morning briefing. When we finally arrived at Tenedos Bay, the fog had begun to clear, revealing the towering mountains that make this ocean-to-sky landscape so much like a postcard.

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  • Hood River, Oregon

    “Look at all these different kinds of apples!” exclaims a guest from aboard National Geographic Quest. We are at Draper Girls Family Farm, where apples and pears fill our senses. Glancing around, I am amused and intrigued by the names bestowed upon this autumn harvest: Tokyo Rose, Pink Pearl, Winter Banana, Spice, Ambrosia, Newton Pippin, Winesap, and Black Twig… to name a few! Later we mosey along the Mosier Tunnels trail, basking in the fall colors and mild breezes. On the other side of Hood River, our shipmates are regaled with tales of automotive and aeronautical adventure at the Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum. Reunited at last, our final lock passage is commemorated with a visit from King Neptune himself, and his entourage. 

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  • Cruising, The Dalles

    This morning National Geographic Quest was making its way down the Columbia River toward the city of The Dalles, our destination for the afternoon activities. On the way, we navigated through two locks, John Day and The Dalles, before anchoring just off the city. Once everyone was on shore, two different groups headed off to their destinations. One left for Rowena Crest and the Columbia River Gorge Discovery Center, and the other toward Maryhill Museum and Stonehenge. From the Discovery Center, we were given several options besides exploring the museum, biking back to the ship, a naturalist-led or photo walk around the Center’s grounds. We all would meet back at the ship for our evening recap, and cocktail hour, before another superb dinner!

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