Daily Expedition Reports

Daily reports from our days in the field


  • En Route to Hawaii

    The last full day at sea found National Geographic Orion only 125 miles from the Big Island. The day was spent with educational lectures from the natural history staff, a clinic on knot tying and time spent on the bow looking for wildlife. As the ship drew nearer to the islands it passed over some hidden sea mounts that often attracts marine life such as sea birds and larger fish. The day ended with one last open ocean sunset.

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  • One Day Closer to Hawaii

    We awoke again to gorgeous skies and relatively calm seas. Before breakfast, seabirds were swirling around the ship. What is their motivation for being here? Are they lost? And where might they be on their way to?

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  • En Route to Hawaii

    Day four of our expedition, National Geographic Orion brings us from the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia to the Big Island of Hawaii. Our small team of explorers kept surprisingly busy with activities on every deck of the ship from early morning to late at night. The energy of our high-spirited team rose in tandem with the warm Pacific sun.

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  • En route to Hawaii: Sea Life

    After the excitement and ceremony of crossing the equator yesterday, we woke up slow and refreshed this morning. Wanting to get outside and stretch, we wondered aft, where we found our expedition leader Jimmy White and dive master Beau Price in a session of coffee and yoga.

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  • At Sea from the Marquesas to Hawaii

    National Geographic Orion continues to make good time on our way north on the long passage from the Marquesas to Hawaii. This was an important route for the original Polynesian navigators whose incredible voyages of exploration found and settled these islands a thousand years ago. Following their historic paths is an exciting prospect. And although our experience aboard our luxurious modern ship is utterly different than theirs, we can still reach for some connection to them here in the expansive waters of the Pacific. Today we passed a milestone that was well known to them in their own way of seeing the world of the Equator.

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  • At Sea to Hawaii

    Yesterday afternoon we left behind the Marquesas and set off to retracing paths of the first Polynesian voyagers. However, we know where we are going and are certainly traveling in style. Today is day one of our voyage to Hawaii. I love days at sea like today. For me, sitting on the bow in the tropics is serene. Life is not abundant, but there is plenty to see. Seabirds passed by throughout the day, but my pet highlight today was the various flying fish. They are challenging to photograph and some are stunningly beautiful. Tomorrow I am looking forward to doing it again.

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  • Nuku Hiva

    Last on our list for voyaging at the Marquesas was Nuku Hiva. This island has a reputation for dramatic landscape, significant archeological sites, and fierce warriors. We were greeted by powerful drums and locals who gifted us with lovely lei seed necklaces. Our guests explored this beautiful scenery learning about birds and maraes, culminating with an energetic dance performance. In the afternoon, we had the opportunity to snorkel one last time, looking for megafauna. Mantas, eagle, and marble rays were sighted, and a school of scallop hammerheads was encountered in these deep, nutrient-rich waters.

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  • Hiva Oa and Tahuata, Marquesas Islands

    Our day started with our early arrival to the island of Hiva Oa, the largest and most fertile of the southern Marquesas Islands.

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  • Fatu Hiva, Marquesas, French Polynesia

    The welcome into Fatu Hiva was warm and inviting as a pod of pilot whales swam around National Geographic Orion this morning. The whole family joined in, including baby whales swimming along the adults. A hydrophone was dropped into the water so that we might get a chance to hear the sounds clicks, whales use to communicate. A water-patrolling oceanic whitetip shark (Carcharhinus longimanus) swam back and forth along the side of the ship, as if to say no loitering here, please move along.

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  • At Sea Toward the Marquesas Islands

    Here we are on route to the Marquesas Islands, traveling as fast as we can and riding over an unexpectedly gentle Pacific Ocean. Yesterday we left behind the pristine Tuamotus Archipelago after a fantastic two days visiting Rangiroa and Fakarava Atolls. If the wind and current favor us, our destination tomorrow will be the pristine island of Fatu Hiva, the most southern island in the Marquesas Archipelago.

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