Daily Expedition Reports

Daily reports from our days in the field

  • Liefdefjorden, Svalbard

    Today we spent our time in Leifdefjorden on the island of Spitsbergen as we began to make our way west from Nordaustlandet. The terrain is very different here—dominated by 380-million-year-old Devonian rocks very similar to the Old Red Sandstone of Britain and Ireland, giving a very distinctive dark-red color to the landscape. We began the morning with Zodiac cruises in front of Monacobreen, a large and spectacular glacier that empties into Leifdefjorden. The glacier has retreated markedly since the first time Lindblad Expeditions ships visited here in 1987 but remains very beautiful. As we cruised along the edge of the brash ice and into the first-year pancake ice in front of the glacier, we were welcomed by several young bearded seals who seemed to be very curious about us.

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  • Futuna, East ‘Uvea

    As the sun rose on another day in paradise, National Geographic Orion made its way between Futuna and Alofi, the destination for the day’s activities. The morning’s itinerary took guests on a tour of the beautiful island of Futuna, visiting a cannibal oven and the Cathedral of Poi whilst accompanied by friendly islanders. After a morning basking in the sun, most guests were itching to get in the water and the island of Alofi gave them the perfect opportunity.

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  • Sjuøyane (Seven Islands), Svalbard

    During the night, the National Geographic Explorer brought us past 80° N on our sail towards Sjuøyane, which literally means the Seven Islands. As the wake-up call sounded, we found ourselves close to Phippsøya, the largest of these islands. Sjuøyane makes up the northernmost part of dry land in Svalbard and in Norway as a whole.

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  • Alkefjellet, Faksevågen, Isrundigen, Bjørnsundet

    We’ve spent the early morning observing birds in the strait of Hinlopen. Then our morning landing was cancelled due to a bear ashore, walking exactly where we had intended to land. Instead, we’ve been proceeding further north for a walk ashore on a lateral moraine covered by snow. We’ve seen the polar desert, beautiful minerals, and fox tracks. During the afternoon, we went on a wildlife watch in the area of Bjørnsundet spotted many “pixel bears” through our scopes and binoculars. Some walruses were also hauling on some ice floes.

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  • Krossfjorden to Smeerenburgfjorden

    Today was our first full day aboard the National Geographic Explorer and the Arctic did not disappoint. Clear skies were present in the early hours of the morning and several guests made their way to the deck to preview the day; others stayed cozy in their cabins awaiting expedition leader Brent’s 07:15 wake-up call.

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  • St. Jonsfjorden, Spitsbergen

    After watching three bears yesterday in Wahlbergfjorden, we have to travel quite a long way today—the final day of our voyage—to reach our next destination, closer and closer to Longyearbyen.

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  • Northern Spitsbergen

    During the night, the National Geographic Explorer made its way across the northern part of Spitsbergen and then south down the Hinlopenstretet (the Hinlopen Strait). However, in the early morning, we encountered a lot of ice and had to make alternative plans. The ship headed north, passing Alkefjellet, where we saw thousands of seabirds feeding in these rich waters; the amazing sight was a mere appetizer since we would be returning later in the day.

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  • Northwest Svalbard

    We are in the northwest area of Svalbard. Our morning found us in Fjortendejulibukta, a lovely fjord with steep sides and a massive glacier at the end. The sun shined brightly and the wind was quiet. It was a perfect day for a hike and some Zodiac cruises. Thick-billed murres, also called Brunnich’s guillemots, flew in organized lines to and from the sea-swept cliffs. Out we went. Hikers headed up the snowy hills of Redingerpynten, where ptarmigan can be found. A mixed-aged group of reindeer watched closely as the hikers climbed to a level spot for a view of glacial dominance on the land. Meanwhile, the Zodiacs approached the nesting cliffs of murres, Atlantic puffins and black-legged kittiwakes. The reindeer, on their stout legs, beckoned a closer view and we watched them slowly graze the emerging vegetation on a hillside that is called Stephan’s Garden by Lindblad staff.

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  • Hornsund Fjord

    Very early in the morning the National Geographic Explorer entered this beautiful system on the southwestern coast of Spitsbergen, the largest island in the Svalbard archipelago. A sunny and relatively warm morning offered an exceptional opportunity to explore by kayak, and by Zodiac. A selection of birds, seals, and one female polar bear were spotted, to the enjoyment of our guests! Even though the wind increased dramatically in the afternoon, we were able to accomplish a landing at a small bay that had the remains of an old whaling station dating back to the early 1700s—a wonderful experience!

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  • Bear Island, Svalbard, Norway

    Today, en route to the Svalbard archipelago, we visited Bear Island, one of the many isolated islands that punctuate the Barents Sea. Conditions were decidedly colder than they have been recently, with gusty winds. We rode a Zodiac to a sheltered bay on the south coast, exploring sea cliffs that are home to thousands of screeching kittiwakes, Brunnich’s guillemots, and fulmars.

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