Daily Expedition Reports

Daily reports from our days in the field


  • Astoria, Oregon

    At 8:30 a.m. photographic instructor Linda Burback gave a 25-minute presentation. With cameras in hand, the sun overhead, and in crisp temperatures, guests undertook several shore side expeditions.

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  • Desolation Sound

    Today we headed towards the northern end of the Salish Sea. With a heading towards Desolation Sound, we pointed out wildlife, stopping to watch two humpback whales. After a hearty brunch, we explored Laura Cove and the surrounding area by Zodiacs, kayaks, and on foot. As the moon jellies drifted by, and the moon rose, we continued north towards our next destination and adventure.

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  • Victoria

    Today was our first day in beautiful British Columbia! After disembarking from the ship, guests had the option to go on a guided tour or spend the day at their leisure. We all were graced with some classic Pacific Northwest weather, which oscillated between sunshine and rain all morning long. Options for tours included a historical walk, a cycling tour, a secret garden tour, an architecture tour, and a tour of the Royal British Columbia Museum. After lunch on the ship, guests embarked on another round of adventures in the sunshine. Appetizer hour was held this evening in the Robert Bateman Gallery, where we all got a chance to get up close with the work of the most famous wildlife painter in Canada. Dinner was held on the ship and followed by a haunted Victoria tour, for the bravest among us.

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  • Astoria, Oregon

    We woke up in Astoria and docked at pier 1 an hour after passing by Pillar Rock at 5:30 A.M. This is the famous campsite of the Lewis and Clark Expedition of November 7, 1805 and the inspiration for Captain Clarks’ joyous words, “Ocian in view! O! The joy!”

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  • Friday Harbor and Jones Island

    Our second day in the San Juan Islands of Washington was spent exploring the second largest, and most populated island, in the San Juan Island Archipelago. About 8,000 people inhabit this island, and 2,200 of them live in the only incorporated town in the all-island county of around 16,000 full time residents. Our morning options were touring the island by bus, visiting a farm, exploring town, and the Whale Museum. After lunch, we left the town behind and motored just a few miles to the north, anchoring at Jones Island, where we explored the uninhabited state marine park by foot or Zodiac tour.

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  • Santa Rosa & San Miguel

    As we have continued our journey through the Channel Islands National Park, we have discovered the unique story that each island here has to offer. Today we sailed towards the islands of Santa Rosa and San Miguel, the westernmost islands of the National Parks. Our morning began on Santa Rosa, the third largest of the islands with a rich history in both ranching and archaeology. Guests landed along the dramatic sandstone cliff faces that line the beach here to explore the hiking the island has to offer. Some took an adventurous hike to the rare Torrey Pines that grow only on Santa Rosa and near San Diego while others ventured into Cherry Canyon to learn about the diverse mosaic of native plants that have colonized and evolved over time. With some extra time, we were also able to paddle and swim before returning to the ship for lunch. Later in the day we continued our journey westward towards the island of San Miguel. This island is notoriously difficult to approach because it lies closest to the open Pacific Ocean and is exposed to extreme ocean swell. Luckily, for us, the conditions were calm and allowed us to sail close to the shoreline. We got close enough to see the spectacle that this island has to offer – hundreds of pinnipeds hauled out on the sandy beaches. northern elephant seals, California sea lions, and harbors seas utilize these isolated beaches as resting spots and mating colonies throughout the year. Together, these two islands added to the powerful story of isolation and conservation that the Channel Islands continue to tell us.

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  • Hood River, Oregon

    When we awoke this morning, we were anchored outside of Hood River. There was a mist rising off the Columbia and the surrounding environment was green! During the night, we had crossed out of the rain shadow and into the temperate rain forest. We disembarked by Zodiac and started off on the days many adventures, some of us spent the morning walking at the Mosier Tunnels, part of the old Columbia River Scenic Highway that sits several hundred feet above the river and is now a hiking and biking path. The fall colors were wonderful. Another group made a trip to an extensive antique car and airplane museum all models of which are in pristine and functioning condition. It was very possible to find the car you learned to drive on!

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  • Sucia Island, San Juan Islands

    We awoke in the middle of the San Juan Islands after sailing all night from Seattle. Darkness is rapidly advancing in the Pacific Northwest, and sunrise doesn’t even happen until 7 a.m. Thick fog surrounded National Geographic Venture as the sun rose today. Out of the mist, the island hills and mountains rose up to greet the sun rays. Birds were everywhere, winter migrants are returning to their winter home in the San Juan Islands. Harbor seals warmed up in the sun along the rocks at low tide. They wait for the tide to rise, so they can slip off the rocks with ease and go fishing with the high tide.

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  • Columbia River, McNary Dam and Westward

    During the night we navigated from the Snake River and turned south onto the Columbia River. This morning we woke in front of McNary Lock and Dam. McNary is the fifth lock of our trip, after having traversed four along the Snake River. It is also our first lock on the Columbia River as we continue our navigation westward. We are still in the rain shadow of the Cascade Mountains and the defining desert-steppe vegetation. This afternoon we had a chance for a short stroll at Crow Butte County Park to get a closer look at the classic vegetation, sagebrush and other western plant species. We closed our day with a sampling of the local wines from Washington and Oregon vineyards. A flavorful way to end another day navigating the great river of the west.

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  • Palouse River & Snake River

    At dawn on his glorious autumn morning we are dropping anchor at the confluence of the Snake and Palouse Rivers. Many beautiful adventures are in store for us here. Giant floods that occurred toward the end of the Ice Age roared across a large area of eastern Washington, washing away the topsoil and ripping into the layers of Columbia River basalts that covered the land as far as six million years ago. A result of these astonishing floods was the spectacular Palouse River Canyon and Palouse Falls.

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