Daily Expedition Reports

Daily reports from our days in the field


  • Marokua, French Polynesia

    Despite the incessant winds and waves, we skillfully managed to approach Marokua Atoll, a seldom-visited site where a small community of around ninety people happily received us. To our surprise (and speaking from theirs surely!) we were told to be the first tourists they have ever received on the island! The very heavy tropical rain that unleashed after our arrival did not prevent us from sharing some interesting hours with the locals and learning about their lives through a mixture of our broken French and English words. The locals have been waiting this heavy rain for some time, as this is their principal source to replenish their water tanks of fresh water, do their laundry, etc. After a few hours ashore and an exciting ride back, we resumed our trip to the east.

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  • Tahanea, Tuamotu Archipelgo

    On this day, National Geographic Orion was able sit close enough to this beautiful atoll for us to easily take the Zodiacs ashore and explore. We were able to splinter into small groups and find our own little hidden gems.

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  • Day at Sea, French Polynesia

    National Geographic Orion and all aboard this morning were greeted to wind gusts of 40 knots and 5-meter ocean swell as we prepared for our day at sea in the South Pacific. For many, the morning was spent relaxing and making the transition from their stable and sure-footed land legs, to learning how to walk again with their newly donned sea legs. By late morning, it came time to introduce the guests to the expedition staff team and give briefings about our Zodiac, kayak, and, snorkel operations.  Snorkel gear was fitted and handed out and the scuba divers assembled to fit their gear and discuss the voyage safety expectations and dive profiles.

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  • Moorea and Tahiti, Society Islands

    After a night of fairly strong winds and gentle movement among the waves, we entered the very sheltered anchorage site in Cook’s Bay, also known as Opunohu Bay, on the north side of Moorea.  We anchored before breakfast in the center of what was once the volcano’s crater. Here is where we spent the rest of the day as we enjoyed this amazingly lush, verdant, volcanic island. It is the second largest of the Îles du Vent (Windward Islands) in the Society Islands of French Polynesia. Today, les Îles du Vent certainly lived up to their name.  The island is very different compared to the nearby coralline Tuamotu islands, and is reminiscent of the Marquesas Islands. Some people claim Moorea is the most beautiful island in the world, but we have recently spent five days in the Marquesas Archipelago, so some of us might argue that claim. The island is essentially the remnant of an ancient, half-eroded volcano that now presents a rugged and mountainous land, with many streams, fertile soils, and beautiful landscapes. 

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  • Makatae, Tuamotus, French Polynesia

    One of the most surprising things about this expedition has been how drastically different each location has been. Makatae, with its intriguing geological formation and natural wonders, was certainly no exception.

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  • Takaroa, Tuamotu, French Polynesia

    At sunrise we were anchored at the entrance to the lagoon of Takaroa Atoll. The pristine waters and the colors of the reef were an invitation to explore the underwater world. We set our snorkeling platform at the edge of the reef, where our guests could enjoy the ocean and its inhabitants.

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  • Day at Sea, French Polynesia

    La Orana Tatou, or greetings from the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It’s a sea day today, a day of rest, a day of reflection, a day to recollect thoughts of a whirlwind visit to the islands of the magical, mystic islands of the Marquesas. I walked around the ship to see what guests were doing. They were lounging around the Jacuzzi, reading books in the lounge, but most were having a much-needed siesta.

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  • Tahuata, Marquesas, French Polynesia

    The number of ways one can describe the Marquesas is very close to the number of ways one can fall short of conveying its utter otherworldly majesty. The primordial elegance that radiates from vibrant emerald shores has taken hold of all of us on so much more than a visual level. Sailing away from every island imbues us with an imprint, a persistent memory of every moment experienced and a desire to one day return.

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  • Fatu Hiva, Marquesas, French Polynesia

    Today National Geographic Orion spent the entire day in the Bay of Virgins along the dramatic coastline of Fatu Hiva, the southernmost of the Marquesas Islands. Headlands sculpted from volcanic rocks transported us to another time and dimension. Here we went ashore to explore and meet the local people who greeted us with flowers, fruits, local arts and crafts, and a cultural performance. During the afternoon we enjoyed this remote tropical paradise on the water exploring by Zodiac, kayaks, and on stand-up paddleboards. A dramatic sunset provided a fitting climax to an amazing day.

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