Daily Expedition Reports

Daily reports from our days in the field

  • At Sea, the Falklands and Beyond

    After leaving South America behind and traveling for a day to the Falklands, we awoke off the islands feeling some uncertainty, much like the rest of the world. What would our future hold?  We were all healthy onboard and in good spirits, so when the news came that we couldn’t disembark immediately, it was met with mixed reactions. It was determined that we would need to wait a few days (about five) until we reached a safe quarantine since our last contact with new people. At first, this seemed harsh. But in reality, it was probably better for everyone involved. We wanted to know we were all healthy, and we didn’t want to spread anything as we dispersed. And, being on board a healthy ship is a great thing. We not only had endless food, drink (wine!), and TOILET PAPER! We were onboard National Geographic Orion! The crew were ready to spoil us like always, and the staff were ready to step up with a series of presentations and activities.

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  • At Sea to the Falkland Islands

    Today we left South America behind and enjoyed following seas and wind on our way to the Falkland Islands. After spending the entirety of our voyage with land in sight, it was refreshing to wake with ocean surrounding our ship all directions with nothing but sky on the horizon.

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  • Garabaldi Glacier | Chile

    What started off a foggy day with leaden seas, turning later into a stunning blue-sky morning as we Zodiac-cruised around the face of the Garabaldi Glacier. This tidewater glacier thundered and calved all morning, as we sipped hot-chocolate and dodged the bergy bits. We worked our way west along the Beagle Channel, making a brief foray into the wild open sea of the South Pacific this evening.

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  • Beagle Channel & Cape Horn

    The southern reaches of South America is shrouded in stories of treacherous waters and the explorers that dare them as they trail their way toward at the end of the world. Our experience in this wild region today proved to be on the opposite end of the spectrum, however, with beautiful sunny skies and calm seas. Cruising out through Beagle Channel, we devoted our morning to the craft of expedition photography with National Geographic photographer Kike Calvo and the cetaceans of Patagonia, along with with naturalist and resident whale nerd Conor Ryan.

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  • Bahia Cánepa and Franklin Bay

    Our second full day on this remote and wild island brought the opportunity to explore an ice-carved fjord called Caleta Capitán Cánepa. What a morning! South American fur seals, a southern elephant seal weaner, and South American sea lions cavorted around the Zodiacs. An otter family was sighted both in the water and along the shoreline near a rushing waterfall. Rock and imperial shags, steamer ducks, striated caracarás, Magellanic penguins, and Andean condors were sighted within these protected waters. The steep cliffs and narrow channels made for incredible photographic opportunities! The morning simply flew by with each new discovery.

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  • Isla de Los Estados

    There are places on this planet that show us how beautiful Earth can be. Imagine the Andes emerging from the middle of the ocean, fog covering the peaks at sunrise, a primordial space, not to be found in the rest of our world. The first destination of our voyage, Isla de Los Estados, starts out with a bang. During the morning we hiked to the lighthouse at San Juan de Salvamento Bay, known since the 20th century as the lighthouse at the end of the world. Walking through the Lenga forest in an almost windless day, something that does not happen regularly. We enjoyed giant petrels flying around us and the endless view of the Atlantic Ocean.

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  • Isla de los estados, San Juan de Salvamento

    National Geographic Orion is navigating along the southernmost region of the American continent following the routes of early voyagers and explorers. Staten Island is our destination for today and we are very excited to set a foot on this rocky island with forests of evergreen beech and winter bark trees. This island is home to South American sealions, giant petrels, kelp gulls and many other birds. It is also the place where the legendary Les Éclaireurs, or “Lighthouse at the End of the World,” is located: This being the inspiration for the French writer Jules Verne.

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  • Franklin Bay and Captain Canepa Bay

    Staten Island is in an area notorious for strong winds and generally bad weather, which made our day all the more special. In the morning we had some wind and a few drops of rain which cleared to give a really beautiful and dramatic landscape to Zodiac cruise into, through a relatively narrow channel before landing on a sandy beach and splashing ashore. Many then hiked to see some rockhopper penguins.

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  • Cape Horn, Chile

    Cape Horn is a small island at the southern tip of Tierra del Fuego. This notorious point marks the southernmost point of South America, a graveyard for many mariners of wooden sailing ships. “I am the albatross who awaits you at the end of the world,” wrote Sara Vial in 1992. Today the poem, written in a marble slab by the monument, that reveals the silhouette of a wandering albatross, honors all those fearless souls, that unsuccessfully tried to round the cape.

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  • Garibaldi Fjord, Chile

    Today was a truly fantastic day for our expedition. After arriving in the morning to the Garibaldi Glacier we left National Geographic Orion to explore the ice face and the fjord in the Zodiacs. It did not take us long to realize that this is a remarkable place not only due to the advancing glacier that calves into the fjord, but also to the surrounding forest of nothofagus or southern beech trees that grow all the way to the edge of the ice and snow. Along the steep walls of the fjord, a large number of waterfalls cascade into the water, contributing to the presence of glacial flour or finely ground stone that gives the water almost a milky appearance. We were not only taken aback by the imposing glacier wall and its stunning blue colour, but driving through the brash ice of the fjord allowed us to experience this place with all our senses: the sound of the ice being pushed by the Zodiacs, the water falling from the heights of the stone walls into the fjord, and the thundery sound of the calving glacier really added a new dimension to the whole experience.

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