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Santa Cruz Island

Today we visited Santa Cruz Island, which is home to the largest human population in the Galapagos. This was our chance to visit the very famous Charles Darwin Research Station and the breeding center, where the giant tortoises are bred in captivity in order to repopulate the islands. It was great to see the efforts to support and protect these huge animals that can be as heavy as two grown men. We were also able to see the different types of tortoises in close proximity, both the dome types as well as the saddleback types, which are the ones inspired the word Galapagos. The land iguanas also contributed to making today’s show even better. Read More>

May 21, 2015 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Nordfjord, Norway

In the early hours of this morning National Geographic Explorer entered Nordfjord, an ice-hewn inlet on the western coast of Norway. With an average depth of 1,800 feet and a length of 65 miles this is a most impressive glacial feature. Shortly before 6 a.m. the ship came alongside at the picturesque village of Olden where, following breakfast, we boarded motor coaches and were driven to explore the dramatic landscape in the environs of the Briksdal Glacier. This is an ancient landscape composed of rocks estimated to be 420 million years old. Read More>

May 21, 2015 National Geographic Explorer in Arctic

At Sea, arriving in Kumai, Kalimantan

The only wildlife sighting before breakfast was Santiago’s flying fish.  However, we’re far too engrossed in Doctor Biruté Galdikas’ lecture to notice, as our interest shifts to land mammals, primates, orangutans to be precise. Dr. Read More>

May 21, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Borneo & Indonesia

Glacier Bay National Park

Glacier Bay National Park is always a magical place.  But today onboard the National Geographic Sea Lion it was especially true.  From the 4:00 a.m. photo-walk led by our photo instructor, Sharon Grainger, to the 10:00 p.m. evening natural history stroll, the weather was perfect.  Clear skies, warm breezes and flat seas accompanied us all day.  And the animals were incredible too.  After breakfast, we made our way to the bow of our ship in time to drift past South Marble Island.  South Marble, well away from the nearest mainland shore and its terrestrial predators, provides nesting habitat for thousands of birds, including the clownish stars of the avian world: tufted puffins.  We were all afforded great views of these comical birds in flight and on the water as they busily foraged for fish and tended to their nests.  Sea lions, too, hauled out on the island.  Hundreds could be seen basking in the sun, some tens of meters above the high water line, while others frolicked in the surf nearby.  The occasional sea otter could be seen as well, showing little interest in us as they back-paddled about in the deeper water further from the island. As we cruised deeper into the park, we spotted brown bears foraging on the beaches, no doubt in search of invertebrate morsels exposed by the ebbing tide. Read More>

May 20, 2015 National Geographic Sea Lion in Alaska

Santiago Island

In the center of the Galapagos lies Santiago Island, a large island in which flora and fauna abound. Early in the morning, before breakfast, we set off for our first outing of the day. Read More>

May 20, 2015 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Pavlof Harbor, Chatham Strait and Red Bluff Bay

Just before 6 a.m. National Geographic Sea Bird left Chatham Strait, and entered Freshwater Bay, a large waterway penetrating several miles into Chichagof Island from the eastern side. Our destination this morning was a much smaller, and protected, anchorage called Pavlof Harbor, where the variety of our morning’s activities would take place. It was another spectacular morning, even though there were some low clouds, but with the very real chance for a clearer afternoon! So right after breakfast the shuttles started loading and heading to shore with hikers, followed by kayakers. Soon after the shore side activities started there were Zodiac cruises available for the remaining guests who maybe wanted a little more leisurely morning. That was the first round, with everybody having the option of doing one of the other activities, or more of the same. Read More>

May 20, 2015 National Geographic Sea Bird in Alaska

At sea towards Borneo

A day at sea always offers the opportunity to reflect on the past days and the many different landscapes ad cultures we have been experiencing over the last weeks. The contrasts between the different countries we visited and were able to experience to a certain degree are probably one of the first things that come to mind. Today, as we navigated the waters of the Karimata Strait (which separates Sumatra from Borneo), many of us delved into the impressions created during the previous weeks. A day at sea is always different than any other day at sea. Read More>

May 20, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Borneo & Indonesia

Singapore, the Lion City

A glittering metropolis at the southeastern tip of Asia. Perfectly sited to be a great hub of world trade, in many ways Singapore is THE great hub of the opening decades of the 21st century. Read More>

May 19, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Borneo & Indonesia

Isabela Island

Today was our second full day in the western most part of this archipelago, and we decided to start our day a bit earlier than normal, because the weather has been very hot these last few days. The idea was to be out as soon as the Galapagos National park rules allow us, and since Urbina Bay has a lot of nature and geological interest, we offered two options to our explorers. Read More>

May 19, 2015 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Lerwick, Shetland Islands, Scotland

On our last full day of this British and Irish Isles expedition we were treated to a sample of the windswept and rainy conditions that locals endure on a regular basis. We emerged from the ship at 7:45 in the morning and rushed to the awaiting buses. National Geographic Explorer was docked a stone's throw from downtown Lerwick, the picturesque city that was founded in the 17th century, relatively recently for this island whose record of human habitation stretches back thousands of years. We peered through rain-covered windows at the grey stone houses that make up the city center, winding our way through the city streets on our way to the Shetland countryside. As we left the city, we saw the ruins of the ancient Clickimin Broch, a stone structure that served either as an ancient dwelling, a defensive structure, a status symbol, or perhaps all three. The Shetland landscape is dotted with landmarks of ancient history. Read More>

May 19, 2015 National Geographic Explorer in British & Irish Isles

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