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SGang Gwaay (Ninstints), Anthony Island

As you step onto the shore of SGang Gwaay, you are instantly transported to another world, another time. The forest is alive with light and color. The only sound that can be heard is the call of ravens in the canopy above. Below, spruce and cedar roots elegantly curve around giant rocks; mosses and lichens blanket the ground and fallen trees, the forest’s method of reclaiming itself in that beautiful and never-ending cycle of life.  This is no ordinary forest. Read More>

Sep 16, 2014 National Geographic Sea Lion in Alaska

At Sea

Waking up in the morning I realized that the winds had picked up. At last Zeus was favoring us with strong winds for excellent sailing from the Ionian Sea approaching the Aegean. We could see Kythera as we sailed along the southern coastline of the Peloponnesus. Antikythera was slightly visible straight ahead. Another Greek island that became famous in the beginning of the 20th century when sponge divers discovered a roman shipwreck carrying Hellenistic cargo consisting of works of art from the Greek isles and Ionia. Amongst the exquisite statues and glassware the archaeologist found an incredible device used to study the planets and organize the “calendar” of the major ancient Greek festivals, for example the Olympics that we studied yesterday in Olympia. The device is called “the Antikythera Mechanism” (the great world for machine). After breakfast some of us visited the engine room in order to discover the mysteries of the Sea Cloud, and then after a short lecture on the history of Modern Greece and its eternal influence on maritime evolution throughout the Greek past we—Greek guides travelling on board—tried to offer our personal viewpoints on what is happening to Greece today. Read More>

Sep 16, 2014 Sea Cloud in Mediterranean

Old Massett, Haida Gwaii

With an early start, our guests boarded buses en route to the village of Old Massett. After the previous days exploration of the Haida Cultural Center and ancient burial grounds of SGang Gwaay, few things could round out the experience more than an intimate interaction with the Haida people. Beginning with a tour lead by Chief Christian White, we were treated to an in-depth explanation of the totem poles that stood mightily outside of the long house, which he and the community erected. The poles were carved by his hand in honor of his ancestors. An even rarer invitation followed, as we were brought into his work shed where projects in progress lay before the guests to witness, ask the details of, and experience both with sight and rich smell of the cedar aroma that filled the room.   The next portion of our day continued to uphold expectations. Read More>

Sep 16, 2014 National Geographic Sea Bird in Alaska

Twillingate, Newfoundland and At Sea

Newfoundland and Labrador, siblings separated by the Strait of Belle Isle, lie at the easternmost point of Canada. First in Canada to see the sun each day, they buffer the land beyond from the ferocity of the sea. Newfoundland’s finger points to Labrador, while its north-facing coast appears as knuckles on a fist, poised to snatch at drifting ice or resist the pounding waves.  The pink and purple pastel skies of early morning were adorned by flashing jewels. Read More>

Sep 16, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Canada

Santa Cruz Island

Santa Cruz Island was our destination for today. In the morning we explored the Charles Darwin Research Station, The Breeding Center and the giant tortoises’ corrals. During this visit we had the opportunity to learn about the different strategies of the conservation work carried out by this institution. Some of the tortoises we saw at the breeding center are tiny babies born here as part of the restoration programs carried out by the Galapagos National Park Service. Read More>

Sep 16, 2014 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Olympia, Greece

Our second day in Greece began with a leisurely morning sail down the west coast of the Peloponnese. We docked at Katakolon shortly after lunch then disembarked for the short journey to the archaeological site of Olympia. Of religious significance since the 10th-century B.C., Olympia hosted the most prestigious of the Panhellenic games beginning in 776 B.C.; it is from these games that the modern Olympics are derived. At the site, our superb guides, Sophia and Eleni, made the ancient games come alive with fascinating detail on the lives of the athletes and the sports in which they excelled, such as the discus throw, the chariot race, and the no-holds-barred pankration, a fighting sport combining wrestling and boxing. In the site’s restored stadium, which hosted the 2004 Olympic shot put competition, some of the guests stumbled upon an intricately-patterned snake, possibly a young leopard snake, who hastily retreated into the nearby grass. Olympia’s massive Doric temple, dedicated to Zeus, once housed a gold and ivory cult statue of the god; although unfortunately no trace of it remains today, this statue was once famed as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Read More>

Sep 15, 2014 Sea Cloud in Mediterranean

L’Anse aux Meadows and St. Anthony, Newfoundland

This morning our explorations focused on the remarkable site of L’Anse Aux Meadows, the only authenticated Viking settlement site so far identified in North America. Following a short Zodiac run we boarded buses and drove to the modern interpretative centre which acts as an information gateway to this UNESCO World Heritage Site. On display are a wide variety of artefacts recovered during the archaeological excavations which took place here in the 1960s and 1970s. Read More>

Sep 15, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Canada

Haida Gwaii

Today was our introduction to the wonders of Haida Gwaii. Overnight we were blessed with calm seas as we crossed Hecate Strait, and awoke as National Geographic Sea Lion approached Queen Charlotte City. After breakfast we trooped off the dock and onto waiting buses, which whisked us to the Haida Heritage Centre. The morning was foggy, turning cloudy and eventually sunny. Read More>

Sep 15, 2014 National Geographic Sea Lion in Alaska

SGang Gwaii

Morning of our second day in Haida Gwaii, and we are walking in SGang Gwaay Linagaay, a First Nations village site. This has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, a place of importance to humankind on a global scale. Giant cedar beams, fallen and moss-covered, mark the remains of longhouses. Memorial and mortuary poles, still standing as they have for 150 years, are slowly returning to the rain forest that birthed them. It is a place where people lived continuously for thousands of years, one culture, passing their knowledge of this place from generation to generation. To be traditionally Haida is to create art and use technology that is itself intimately connected to the land, derived from it, reflecting it. This is how humankind began: our ancestors lived on the land where their ancestors were born; they knew it intimately, they were of the land and given physical and spiritual sustenance from its abundance. Today, few of us know what it would be like to live in a place where your family has lived for scores of generations. Fortunately for us, we have Haida guides who can tell us about that, and more.  This is a place of wild nature too. Read More>

Sep 15, 2014 National Geographic Sea Bird in Alaska

Floreana Island

After a relatively short nighttime navigation, we dropped anchor at Floreana, south of the archipelago. The morning was cloudy and misty. It is the cool, dry season after all, and a drizzly day is not unusual for this time of the year. We left our ship to land ashore at the olivine beach of Punta Cormorant. Hidden behind the landing beach we found a large lagoon of shallow, brackish waters. A lagoon like this can be the habitat of various species of birds like the greater flamingo, of which we spotted a few in the distance. Other tall birds were in the area today, like the great egret and the great blue heron. Further along the path, the landscape was dry and beautiful, with the bare yet elegant ‘palo santo’ or incense trees, a dominant species of the dry zone of the Galapagos. At the end of the trail we found another beach of white sands; called ‘the flour beach.’ This is a favorite nesting site for the Eastern Pacific green sea turtles. As we walked the length of the beach we could spot several fresh turtle tracks of females that may have nested last night. Many migratory birds find plenty to eat along this beach, like the sanderlings, ruddy turnstones and semi-palmated plovers, which travel from more temperate areas of the world.  Later in the morning we navigated further west towards a small islet called Champion. Read More>

Sep 15, 2014 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

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Please note: All Daily Expedition Reports (DER's) are posted Monday-Friday, during normal business hours.