Daily Expedition Reports

Daily reports from our days in the field


  • Flatey and the Westfjords

    "In the vegetable garden of music," noted Icelandic singer-songwriter and storyteller Svavar Knutur, "I am broccoli." In his efforts to encourage us to sing along with him, he was trying to make a point about the positive effects of singing on brain health. "Singing is one of the most challenging activities for the brain. Almost as difficult as talking while playing guitar," he said while playing guitar.

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  • Westmann Islands

    Our morning started with an introduction to the expedition team, with a quick interlude to watch the ship sail through the narrows into Heimaey Harbour. After the introductions we then departed the ship for our separate excursions. Half of us were taken on a hike up to the relatively new mountain of Eldfell. Eldfell was the site of the volcanic eruptions that threatened the island of Heimaey during 1973 with a lava spread which would likely have blocked the harbour and destroyed the means of the majority of islanders to make a living. Luckily this was stopped and now a really spectacular volcanic mountain is left, with a wide variety of rocks of shades of red to black. The weather was unfortunately not the best for views at the top but we could still see the glacier over on the Icelandic mainland. The hike ended in the museum which gave a great overview of the volcanic eruption and the process of evacuation to slowing the spread of lava.

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  • Croker Bay and Dundas Harbour, Devon Island, Nunavut

    When hares grow wings and fly, and ancient archaeology is upstaged by falcons, one might think that they had gone down the rabbit hole where nothing is what it seems or at least what we might think it should be.

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  • Heimaey & Surtsey, Westmann Islands, Iceland

    We awoke this morning aboard the National Geographic Orion to clear skies and windy conditions. Our stretch of good weather continued to hold, allowing us to fully appreciate the snow-capped volcanoes of southern Iceland: Mýrdalsjkull and the famously unpronounceable Eyjafjallajökull, which last erupted in 2010 and disrupted air traffic across Europe. As we headed toward the Westmann Islands and our morning destination – the island of Heimaey – our naturalist Adam Cropp gave a thought-provoking presentation about the pressing issue of climate change.

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  • South coast of Devon Island, Nunavut, Canada

    Burnett Inlet juxtaposes the dramatic with the sublime, as stunning cliffs reminiscent of the Grand Canyon serve as the backdrop for purple saxifrage and the other tiny jewels that bloom in this arctic desert. Burnett turned out to be a great place to land, with excellent hiking along a stream that flows down from an inland lake. The numerous gulls hanging about the stream tipped us off to the presence of Arctic char. Muskox and bear tracks were scattered among the wildflowers, testifying to where the animals had been, although not where they currently are.

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  • Djúpivogur, Iceland

    Clear sunny skies presented the perfect conditions for exploring the Vatnajökull glacier. Although for the super Jeeps driving up the glacier, the snow proved to be a little softer and trickier to drive through. The weather stayed favourable for our trip to the beautiful black sands and icebergs followed by a visit to Jökulsarlon, the large lagoon left in front of the glacier as it retreats rapidly back. Our day finished off with a 19:40 arrival back at National Geographic Orion, which meant dinner was ready straight away. Afterward, we enjoyed a very entertaining musical revue put on by the crew, performing some old favourites (including some favourites no one would dare admit were favourites).

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  • Seyđisfjördur

    The north east of Iceland is a remote and rugged place. Nestled amongst the steep cliffs and vast and earthen green landscape of this remote area is the small town of Seyđisfjördur. With a population of less than 1,000 individuals, Seyđisfjördur may be a place of few people, but it has a rich history and has been inhabited since the 9th century.

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  • Mývatn, Northern Iceland

    A grey and moody sky awaited us as we departed Akureyri for the Mývatn area and surrounding geothermal wonders such as hot-springs, colourful mud pools, fumaroles and craters. We explored this geologist’s playground by bus, with plenty of hikes and birdwatching throughout the day. 

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