Daily Expedition Reports

Browse photos & daily reports sent from the field every day



Lastest Expedition Reports

  • Bahia Concepcion

    The climate in the Gulf of California is unpredictable during the winter-spring transition, since it sits at the confluence of three different wind systems between the west, north, and south. Today, the wind began from the north and made National Geographic Venture locate to one of the most idyllic bays in this sea: Bahia Concepcion – south of the copper mining town of Santa Rosalia and north of the historic California capital of Loreto. The historical flavor of the early exploration and colonization of this peninsula, respectively, by Spanish Conquistadores and Jesuit missionaries blew through the winds and across the landscape.

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  • Santiago Island

    We began our day with an optional early photography walk to explore Espumilla. It was quiet and calm during this outing, and we saw baby turtles and tracks left behind from last night. We had an opportunity to use our gear with different settings, and even our iPhones were very useful tools for photography. As a matter of fact, all the pictures in this report were taken with smart phones.

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  • Isabela Island

    Today we explored two different sites on Isabela’s western coast. Urbina Urbina Bay was our first destination, a region of land uplifted from the sea floor in 1954, as a result of an earthquake some 30 miles west of the archipelago. Part of the evidence left from this geological event can be found all along the trail, including coral, shells, and pieces of mangroves encountered as far as a mile from the shore! After exploring the trail, we went ashore to enjoy a refreshing beach-side swim.

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  • Isla San Marcos

    A leisurely morning aboard National Geographic Venture allowed guests to enjoy this pleasant day out on the decks as well as presentations about the distinct geography and wildlife that makes Baja California such a beloved destination for those visiting.

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  • Isabela Island

    Named after Queen Isabel, this island is the largest in the Galapagos Archipelago. It is made up of volcanos, which are still very active, erupting as recently as last year. Urbina Bay is our landing site, with a black sand beach where turtles annually lay their eggs. The area is vast and heavily vegetated due to its rich volcanic soil, producing many sources of food, safety, and nesting sites for birds. It also creates areas of shade and nesting sites for reptiles like giant tortoises and land iguanas. During our outing, we saw a variety of land birds, as well as a several tortoises and land iguanas.

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  • Fakarava, North Pass and Toau

    Another sunny day in French Polynesia commenced as National Geographic Orion navigated through the North Pass of Fakarava into the town of Rotoava. After a morning ashore that included cycling, sightseeing, and shopping, we repositioned to the island of Toau for an afternoon of water activities.

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  • Punta Vicente Roca and Punta Espinoza

    Today we visited the western region of the Galapagos, where amazing wildlife encounters awaited. Sailing through the night, we arrived at the western coast of Isabela Island. Near Volcan Ecuador we spotted a massive pod of common dolphins. These beautiful marine mammals gave us quite a show! After breakfast, we navigated the waters of Punta Vicente Roca, exploring the amazing volcanic cliffs, and where we found Galapagos fur seals, penguins, flightless cormorants, Nazca and blue-footed boobies.

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  • Fakarava Atoll, South Pass

    National Geographic Orion arrived at the southern end of Fakarava Atoll around midmorning. Fakarava Atoll lies in the western region of the Tuamotu Archipelago and is the second largest atoll in French Polynesia, after Rangiroa. Fakarava Atoll is the rough shape of a rectangle and has a length of about 60 km (37 mi) and a width of 21 km (13 mi). This includes a wide and deep internal lagoon with a surface area of 1,112 km2 (412 mi2), compared to a narrow surrounding band of islets with a total land area of only 16 km2 (6 mi2). The islets, typical for a coral atoll, barely rise above sea level and are densely covered with lush, green vegetation.

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  • Bartholomew and Rabida Islands

    We split our first full day in Galapagos between two islands. Bartholomew Island, with the iconic Pinnacle Rock and stark arid terrain in contrast with the rich Pacific seascape. Then Rabida in the afternoon, with its stark red sand and imposing cliffscape, rocked paths, sea lions, and an array of underwater marvels.

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  • Fernandina & Isabela

    Today we sailed to the western part of the archipelago, Fernandina and Isabela. The newest Islands are strongly influenced by the Cromwell Undercurrent, which brings cold, nutrient-rich waters. Due to this, we found the largest aggregations of marine iguanas and sea turtles that feed on algae during our morning outing. We also saw the elusive flightless cormorants and Galapagos penguins. After our morning walk, we went snorkeling and saw many sea turtles, penguins, flightless cormorants and marine iguanas feeding underwater. The temperature was very pleasant, 76 degrees Fahrenheit.

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


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