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In Search of Svalbard Sea Monsters

Here be dragons! On the remote island of Spitsbergen, deep inside the Arctic circle, the remains of some of the most fearsome sea monsters to have prowled the oceans have been entombed in rock for more than 150,000,000 years. National Geographic Emerging Explorer Jørn Harald Hurum and his team have been excavating the fossils for many…

Whale Encounters in Arctic Svalbard

We did not see the rare bowhead whale during our week-long cruise through Svalbard early in the summer of 2014, but our ship, National Geographic Explorer, had some dramatic encounters with humpbacks, and there were also excellent sightings of fin whales and belugas.

Through the Killing Field to See Walruses

To get relatively close to a trio of walruses on a beach at Kapp Lee on Edgeøya, the third largest island in Svalbard, we had to skirt a killing field littered with bones of the corpulent marine mammals. Preserved as a cultural relic, along with a couple of huts once used by trappers and researchers, the skeletons are a…

Expedition to the Land of Ice Bears

It was almost at the exact moment of the northern solstice that we boarded the National Geographic Explorer for a week-long expedition to the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard–the time of year when the sun reaches the highest point in the sky as seen from the North Pole. We were in the land of the midnight sun, and we would not see the darkness of night for the entire time we were there.

Lindblad-National Geographic, a Ten-Year Expedition of Inspiration and Discovery

Ten years ago Lindblad Expeditions and the National Geographic Society joined forces to inspire, illuminate, and teach the world through expedition travel. The collaboration in exploration, research, technology, and conservation has provided extraordinary experiences to thousands of travelers, raised funds and awareness to address critical challenges to the environment, and inspired people to be better stewards of the planet. In this National Geographic-behind-the-scenes interview, Sven-Olof Lindblad, founder and president of Lindblad Expeditions, talks about the impetus behind the partnership, some of the accomplishments, and his thoughts of the future.

Dreams of the World: Jose Fuster (Jaimanitas)

 This post is the latest in the series Dreams of the World, which profiles interesting people we meet during our travels. My dream is… to create a piece of art that will be admired like the ones created by Antonio Gaudí or Pablo Picasso, such as the ¨Guernica¨. José Fuster, 67, is a Cuban artist that…

Waves over Havana

An Unexpected Visitor in the Volcano

Galapagos Expedition Journal: Genovesa Tower, Home to a Million Birds

Genovesa was for me the most enchanting of all the islands we saw, not only because we got to walk along the rim of the caldera, but because of the birds in tremendous profusion. And what birds they were: boobies of every kind, frigate birds, gulls, owls, mockingbirds, finches. They were mating, nesting, roosting, sleeping, hunting, fighting. The sky was full of them arriving and departing from their feeding grounds. The noise they made, especially at sunset, was cacophonous.

Galapagos Expedition Journal: Turtles and Penguins of Bartolome and the Chinese Hat

Green turtles were mating in the water in front of us when our Zodiac pulled up to Bartolome, a mound of lava less than half the size of New York’s Central Park, just off Santiago Island in the Galapagos. Bartolome is a breeding and nesting ground for the turtles. It’s also favorite stop for visitors to the Galapagos because of its fantastic geology, an energetic climb up 376 wooden steps to a commanding view from the summit of the islet’s biggest volcanic cone, and spectacular snorkeling with sharks and rays in the clear water around postcard-famous Pinnacle Rock.

Galapagos Expedition Journal: In Search of Giant Iguanas on Dragon Hill

Day five of our expedition to the Galapagos islands took us to the northwest slope of Santa Cruz for a walk up Cerro Dragon, “Dragon Hill.” This place was once home to a thriving colony of the massive Galapagos land iguana, Conolophus subcristatus. The lizard is making a comeback here after being nearly wiped out by cats, rats, and dogs introduced to the Galapagos by humans.

Galapagos Expedition Journal: Underwater Exploration with a Prize-Winning Photographer

In this post I interview Terry Goss, who was on our expedition as the 2011 winner of the Ocean in Focus Photo Contest, a competition that focuses on the human impacts on marine environments and species, positive and negative, in an attempt to advance ocean conservation through the power of imagery. Terry shares his impressions of the Galapagos beneath the waves, and some advice for how to get the best underwater photographs.

Galapagos Expedition Journal: On Board National Geographic Endeavour

On the night we sailed across the Equator the sun set fire to the sea and sky, creating a dramatic setting for the shadowy dormant volcanoes lining the horizon around us. It was a memorable moment celebrated over a glass of champagne on the bridge deck of National Geographic Endeavour. We were roughly midway through…

Galapagos Expedition Journal: Face to Face with Giant Tortoises

Some 250,000 giant tortoises once roamed the Galapagos islands. But taken for meat by pirates and whalers, their populations collapsed to near extinction. We visit the Charles Darwin Research Research Center to see how the giant tortoise has been restored, and we visit scores of wild tortoises in their natural habitat in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island.

Galapagos Expedition Journal: In the Footsteps of Charles Darwin

In 1835 Charles Darwin arrived on Floreana Island in the Galapagos, noting in his journal that it had long been frequented, first by buccaneers, latterly by whalers–and then political dissidents exiled from mainland South America. The giant tortoises Darwin saw on Floreana have since been extirpated from the island and the prisoners and pirates exist only in history. But the scenery he described remains much the same, and a tradition of leaving mail in a “post office barrel” for collection and delivery by passing ships has endured for two centuries.