On Saturday morning, the ship’s company of National Geographic Orion awoke to views of the vast Pacific Ocean as we made way from Norfolk Island to New Caledonia. With the recent cyclone activity throughout the South Pacific, our itinerary has been in constant flux. We were happy to be steaming towards Nouméa for a warm welcome by the people of New Caledonia. Everyone was very excited to see this amazing place and its people.

Yoga with wellness specialist Belinda was followed by a relaxing breakfast outdoors. Birdwatchers congregated on the bow to look out for any pelagic activity. Wedge-tailed shearwaters, black-winged petrels, and a quick sighting of a Tahiti petrel were the excitement of the morning.

A morning presentation by guest speaker Taylor Myers explained the plight of plastic pollution but also gave hope for solutions and actionable personal choices to address both marine and terrestrial plastic problems. Lindblad naturalist Jennifer Kingsley followed up with an engaging talk entitled “A Modern History of Polynesian Voyaging” and a film highlighting the incredible skills of Polynesian navigators and the efforts to retain this sacred knowledge.

In the afternoon, snorkel gear was brought out to be tried on for upcoming aquatic adventures, and we enjoyed teatime in the lounge. Later, undersea specialist Mike Greenfelder prepped us all for what we may see in the underwater world with his talk on “The Top 10 Reef Fish Families.”

Cocktail hour, recap, and dinner were followed by stargazing on the observation deck with beverages as we celebrated the passing of another beautiful day at sea in the moonlight.