48 Hours with Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic
The experience aboard Lindblad Expeditions/National Geographic is hard to put into words....how many ways can one quantify how very different this type of cruising is from that which most of us picture in our minds? The typical image is of enormous ships, crowds of people, endless buffets of questionable food, expensive excursions that often involve crowded tourist towns or being herded like cattle from ship to bus and back. Not a pretty picture...which is why many people write off cruising as not their "cup of tea".
Small ship/expedition cruising (also known as discovery cruising) is different...on every level. And, Lindblad Expeditions is the pioneer in this kind of journey. Fifty years ago, Lars-Eric Lindblad was a travel visionary and set into motion the very first concept of eco-tourism by taking a small team of intrepid travelers to Antarctica. Today, this type of tourism exists and is well worth the investment.
Our short but wonderful journey began in Seattle aboard the good ship, Sea Bird....carrying only 62 guests, the Sea Bird plies the waters between Baja California and Alaska. Click here for more about this ship.
After boarding the ship and having a sumptuous dinner, we bid Seattle goodbye and set sail for the San Juan Islands...our playground for the next 48 hours.
The next day started out with a bit of typical Pacific Northwest drizzle, but the skies quickly cleared and we readied ourselves for our hiking and kayaking excursion on Sucia Island. Forget crowded buses and tourist towns...our shore trip involved a very comfortable ride in the inflatable boat, a fun hop ashore, a brilliant hike with the fascinating and knowledgeable Sharon Grainger (one of Lindblad's sensational expedition team...click here for Sharon's bio), and a fabulous kayak jaunt in a gorgeous protected bay.
Sharon pointed out endless tiny treasures which we would probably never had noticed on our own, and told us the engaging stories of the native plants - and how they have been used by countless generations of native people.
Seeing our ship from the island was a special treat....framed by one of the island's lovely madrone trees....another native species and called, aptly, "the painted ladies" as they show off their richly colored bark.
Later that day, we pulled anchor to begin our cruise of the waters in search of the killer whale. Our excitement grew as we spotted the Orca pods in the distance. All cameras were clicking as we eased close enough to take some amazing photographs, but at a distance that respected the space of these magnificent creatures.
Magnificent scenery stretched out in every direction as the captain skillfully navigated around the stunning island chain for the balance of the afternoon and evening. At dinner, we compared photographs, got to know our traveling companions better, and enjoyed world class table service and cuisine.
After a calm night cruising back to Seattle, the day dawned sunny and brilliant as the skyline came into view.
What makes this experience unique and special? Lindblad Expeditions sums it up well on their website:
- Expeditions are extraordinary experiences—designed with curious, intelligent people in mind. There are opportunities:
- To go to the planet’s exceptional places, many of which are either otherwise inaccessible (e.g. Antarctica) or best accessed by a ship (e.g. Galápagos, Alaska, Baja’s Sea of Cortez, Costa Rica & Panama, to name only a few)
- To have privileged, personal encounters with the world’s wonders
- To travel accompanied by veteran expedition teams with the expertise to ensure you see all the facets, and contribute insight along the way
- To share the experience with like-minded others
- To have incredible stories to share, a priceless stock of memories, and perhaps, even the best photos of your life
I couldn't agree more! Bravo Lindblad Expeditions for creating these extraordinary experiences with the utmost integrity and inspiring travelers to care deeply about exploring and caring for our amazing world!
For more about how to get yourself aboard one of Lindblad's amazing cruises, please click here to contact me, Cate Caruso.