On a calm, tropical morning, National Geographic Orion anchored off the coast of Pulau Belitung, an island in the Java Sea off the east coast of Sumatra. By Zodiac, we landed at the beautiful beach of Tanjung Kelayang to a warm welcome with a dance performance by members of the local community. The beach is very photogenic with many colorful longboats anchored beside the white sand. Under cover and protected from the hot morning sun, we were entertained by the reenactment of a traditional Indonesian marriage ceremony, complete with the requisite gift giving and financial negotiations between the families before the union could be completed! Before heading back to the ship for lunch, guests enjoyed snorkeling around the spectacular granite boulders in the area, which is formally recognized as a UNESCO geopark.
There is always a light at the end of the tunnel is a phrase we often hear in times of need for hope and encouragement. Today, guests aboard National Geographic Resolution learned about the hard realities of conflict and the importance of reconciliation. The day started at Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum, situated on Mabuni Hill. The Battle of Okinawa in 1945 was fought between the United States and Japan and resulted in massive casualties on both sides. The tour continued at the Japanese Naval Underground Headquarters, where we saw the location of the final acceptance of defeat by Japanese commanders during the Battle of Okinawa. Text and photos by Jenna Forslund and Katie Lodes, Grosvenor Teacher Fellows
This is Erin and Alison (Grosvenor Teacher Fellows) taking over the daily expedition report one last time before we head home. Today on National Geographic Venture , we cruised an inlet along the coastal shores of British Columbia. The morning was spent on Zodiacs. We explored the islands and took a nice, casual walk along the coastal beach. With informative talks by our naturalist throughout our journey, we were excited to implement our new learning in this ecosystem. On Zodiacs, we stopped by one coast and spotted a nurse tree with a Sitka spruce growing from it. A kingfisher perched on top of the spruce and then flew past us with its unique musical call. A harbor seal popped over to say hi as well. As we hiked the shoreline, we found ourselves stepping over fallen driftwood. Taking a closer look, we discovered turkey tail fungus and slime mold growing on the fallen trees. Barnacles and remnants of bull kelp were scattered along the shore. Continuing to walk along the beach, we observed interesting rock formations. We are enthusiastic about science and nature. During our time aboard National Geographic Venture , we found ourselves more informed, more engaged, and more passionate about this beautiful ecosystem. We loved the discoveries we made while immersed in this space, and we incorporated the information provided by naturalists who shared their passion and work with us. We know that visiting this land is a special gift, and we look forward to sharing our newfound knowledge, experience, and connections with our school communities. Text and photographs by Grosvenor Teacher Fellows, Alison Katzko and Erin Schmidt
After a night of sailing south, our voyage continued at the island of Amami. Here, we divided into different groups to explore the culture and natural history of this gorgeous and little-known island. I was lucky enough to lead a group of nature enthusiasts to a patch of great forest. Here we focused on the birds, but we also saw many cool plants and critters including endemic frogs and snakes. From the birding side, the Lidth’s jay was a certain highlight. A stunning jay with great colors and an attitude. What isn’t to love? All of us enjoyed the scenery and friendly people of Amami and are looking forward to Okinawa tomorrow.
An overcast sky greeted us as National Geographic Endurance entered the old harbour of Reykjavik. With a slight change in the itinerary due to weather, we were given the opportunity to explore in and around Reykjavik today. The Ring of Fire, a 4x4 tour, and a spa visit were on the menu. The Ring of Fire tour took us to one of the geothermal power plants outside the city. Icelanders make it look easy to sequester carbon dioxide. They have come up with a system where they add carbon dioxide to water and push it down into the Earth. Eventually, the bubbly water turns into rock as it reacts with the basalt. The plant supplies Reykjavik with hot water and electricity. So, all you need is geothermal activity, lots of water, and porous basalt…then you can store carbon dioxide. It’s as easy as that! Fittingly, lunch was cooked with geothermal heat, including bread and pastries baked with steam and eggs boiled in the naturally hot water. Just brilliant. Thingvellir was our last stop. We stood with one foot on the Eurasian Plate and one on the American. Well, not quite, but you can walk from one continental plate to another. Iceland is such a unique place in many ways. As the plates slowly move away from each other, the rift created is almost splitting the country in half. After the guest slideshow and farewell dinner, the day ended with a concert in the ice lounge. Hafdís Huld, a local singer-songwriter with incredible talent and charm, brought this beautiful trip to a close.