Curú Wildlife Refuge, 11/25/2022, National Geographic Quest
National Geographic Quest
Indonesia & Papua New Guinea
In the early morning, National Geographic Quest arrived in the northern section of the Gulf of Nicoya in the province of Guanacaste. We visited the magnificent Curú Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is privately owned but has a status of protection that prevents even the owners from cutting down trees in the forest. The refuge has been a regular destination on our itineraries for more than 25 years, and for good reason. Not only is the forest beautiful and a good example of a dry forest, but it is also a fantastic place to see wildlife. As always, it didn’t disappoint today! Our guests had great views of monkeys, coatis, agoutis, and many beautiful tropical birds, such as the colorful scarlet macaw. A perfect ending for a perfect trip!
National Geographic Orion sailed east through the Solomon Sea towards Guadalcanal, our final destination. On the ship, there was a mixture of excitement to see the next island and relaxation as everyone took advantage of the last day aboard. We learned how to edit photos and watched a slideshow that encapsulated the wonderful adventure we just completed. During sunset, the lights of Honiara began to appear. What a day! What a trip!
Another day at sea, and it did not disappoint! The day started out with immaculate sunshine and clear skies. The sun was shining fiercely as we sailed towards our final destination. After breakfast, naturalist Lisa Hornak began a presentation on her work but was promptly interrupted by a pod of pilot whales! Everyone rushed to the bow to get a look at these beauties. We were easily distracted by the pantropical spotted dolphins that came to ride the bow and entertain us for quite some time. The dolphin treat was followed by a synchronized pilot whale show! The cetacean viewings were incredible, and it was only 10:00 a.m. We resumed the program, and Lisa presented her work on how climate change is affecting a small community in India. The seas were as glassy as a mirror all afternoon. Flying fish of all varieties sprinkled the surface of the sea, with every ripple appearing as if someone were skipping stones. Blue ones, pink ones, yellow ones, and polka dot ones; the color combinations were endless. An announcement was made, and guests flooded the bow for the ultimate challenge: photographing the flying fish. In the afternoon, we were treated to the final episode of Ring of Fire by guest speaker Lawrence Blair. The seas pulled us back out to the bow to view more pilot whales, terns, boobies, shearwaters, and flying fish. The clouds mystified us, and a rainbow appeared right in front of us. The day could not have been any more scenic! The evening sunset was a beautiful beginning to our Captain’s farewell cocktails, followed by a luscious gourmet dinner. To cap it all off, we ended the festivities with a rip-roaring trivia quiz night hosted by Lisa Hornak and National Geographic photographer Gabby Salazar. A great time was had by all!
We awoke just south of the island of Papua New Guinea and continued heading east throughout the day. We were back in deep blue water and in the realm of flying fish. We spotted many seabirds today. Feeding flocks of wedge-tailed shearwaters were a highlight. A variety of presentations kept us busy, along with time spent enjoying the nice weather on deck. Late afternoon brought a rain squall, which resulted in a double rainbow.