Favorite Trips of 2012

bear encounter in Alaska

My travel year began with a voyage to Costa Rica and Panama aboard the National Geographic Sea Lion, a 62-guest ship that hits the hot spots of the two countries but also gets “out there,” to places like Isla Coiba, the Islets in the Gulf of Panama, and hidden beaches and trails on the Osa Peninsula. There is no better way to explore Costa Rica and Panama than from the water in. Unlike land-based trips, we had dramatic beach landings when the tropical sun was still just an omnipresent glow, and were able to embrace the Back to the Future bravado of “Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.”

Costa Rica Mangroves

Capuchin Monkeys in Costa Rica

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In April, it was off to Baja California and the Sea of Cortez, a magical place where the desert meets the sea, and wow, that sea is full to the brim with wildlife.  This time aboard the National Geographic Sea Bird, we departed from La Paz and pushed north to the Midriff Islands region, which hosts an incredible variety and number of whales in the spring. In one week, we saw six species of whales — humpback, fin, Bryde’s, sperm, pilot, and the greatest of them all, the blue whale — and thousands of common dolphins.

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National Geographic Sea Bird in Baja

Sperm Whale Sea of Cortez

Common Dolphins Sea of Cortez

Common Dolphins Sea of Cortez

Baja California Cactus

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With summer comes the awakening of Alaska, so on the first week of June, I flew to Juneau where I boarded the National Geographic Sea Lion once again, this time for a voyage in the Inside Passage. It was a week packed with whales, bears, eagles, glaciers, icebergs, brilliant sunrises and sunsets, a bit of rain, and the wonderful camaraderie of fellow guests. (The year before, we had an orca encounter for the record books, which you can read about here).

Alaska small ship cruise

bear encounter in Alaska

Alaska wildlife cruise

Full moon in Alaska

Zodiac cruise in Alaska waterfall

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National Geographic Sea Bird in Baja

After Alaska, I returned to my home in New York City for the summer, and to Lindblad Expeditions’ home office.  Then, in early September, I had the opportunity to visit Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and the Magdalen Islands (Iles de la Madeleine) in Canada.  I was sent to develop a voyage for the 125th Anniversary of National Geographic aboard the National Geographic Explorer, a great, great privilege. The beauty of the region was only outshined by the kindness of the people.

St. John's Newfoundland Cruise

Musket Salute St John's Newfoundland

Cape Spear Lighthouse Newfoundland

Magdalen Islands Flight

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Smoked herring Iles de la Madeleine

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Iles de la Madaleine cliffs and beaches

Iles de la Madaleine cliffs

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That was 2012 in the expedition development world for Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic.  As always, I am humbled to work for such incredible organizations.  And I can’t wait to see what 2013 will bring.

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