National Geographic and Lindblad Expeditions Launch Inaugural Journey of National Geographic Endeavour

Exploration and Travel Pioneers Celebrate New Platform for Expedition Travel, Scientific Discovery and Conservation

VALPARAISO, Chile, April 4 /PRNewswire/ — National Geographic Endeavour today set sail on its 20-day inaugural voyage from Valparaiso, Chile, to the Panama Canal, launching an exciting, multifaceted alliance between the National Geographic Society and Lindblad Expeditions, leading pioneers in exploration and travel. On board the newly christened ship, formerly known as M.S. Endeavour, are National Geographic President and CEO John Fahey and Lindblad Expeditions President and Founder Sven-Olof Lindblad.

The partnership, which signifies a new standard of excellence in the field of expedition travel, is aimed at furthering collaboration in the areas of scientific research, conservation and educational programming. During the launch ceremonies, Fahey and Lindblad unveiled plans for unparalleled opportunities for travelers to explore remote, pristine and endangered regions with scientists and photographers and to witness, firsthand, scientific discoveries and the use of new technologies, while interacting with experts in the field.

“This partnership is a great fit with our mission of advancing geographic knowledge, while promoting the conservation of natural and cultural resources,” Fahey said. “We can now bring travelers to places that National Geographic has covered over the past century and allow them to participate in scientific exploration in real time from this special ship that bears our name.”

Lindblad acknowledged National Geographic as a catalyst for inspiring both him and his father, Lars-Eric Lindblad, a pioneer of expedition travel who founded Lindblad Travel in 1958. “This partnership is a dream come true,” said Lindblad, “and this voyage ahead of us promises to take us farther than we can both imagine.”

Joining Fahey and Lindblad on this voyage is renowned high-altitude archaeologist and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Johan Reinhard, best known for his work in the Andes, especially his discovery of the Inca ice maiden in Peru. Other experts on board are Peruvian-born archaeologist and National Geographic grantee Guillermo Cock and National Geographic photographer Pablo Corral.

As on all Lindblad voyages, a seasoned expedition team, including veteran Expedition Leader Tom Ritchie, naturalists, undersea specialists, biologists and geologists, will run the day-to-day expedition. Among the many highlights of the inaugural voyage will be Zodiac cruises for up-close viewing of marine mammals, coves and bird colonies; hikes along the coast and inland; and visits to cultural and geological points of interest, such as Andean villages, museums and national parks. A remotely operated vehicle (ROV), hydrophones, video microscopes, “splash cams” and underwater cameras will be used to gather underwater data.

Enhancements to the National Geographic Endeavour — which now bears the Society’s distinctive yellow border — for its maiden voyage include the newly released “National Geographic Atlas of the World, 8th Edition” with a built-in rack in every cabin, National Geographic furniture, photographs, globes, maps, binoculars and other expedition gear. Some of these enhancements are being incorporated fleet-wide at Lindblad, allowing guests aboard the other ships to benefit from the partnership.

A National Geographic expert will accompany all future departures of the National Geographic Endeavour. National Geographic photographer and arctic expert Paul Nicklen will accompany the July 17 “Land of the Ice Bears” Expedition to Arctic Norway. Journalist and former host of the National Geographic Explorer television series Boyd Matson will be on board the Jan. 7, 2006, and Jan. 18, 2006, voyages to Antarctica.

National Geographic experts also will join select other Lindblad ships in coming months. Biologist, inventor and filmmaker Greg Marshall and his team will spend May and June this year on board Lindblad’s M.V. Sea Voyager, conducting research in the Sea of Cortez on sperm whales, using Marshall’s innovative Crittercam video technology.

About National Geographic

The 117-year-old National Geographic Society is one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations. It reaches more than 280 million people each month through its official journal National Geographic and four other magazines; the National Geographic Channel, books, films, videos, maps and interactive media. The Society has funded nearly 8,000 scientific research projects and supports an education program combating geographic illiteracy.

National Geographic’s travel products and services include National Geographic Traveler and Adventure magazines, travel guidebooks, maps and National Geographic Expeditions, the Society’s travel program that operates more than 100 trips each year to destinations around the globe. For more information about the Society, visit http://nationalgeographic.com/; AOL Keyword NatGeo.

About Lindblad Expeditions

Lindblad Expeditions was founded in 1979, originally as a division of Lindblad Travel, which was founded in 1958 by Lars-Eric Lindblad, the pioneer of expedition travel. Lindblad operates a fleet of six ships in regions such as Galapagos, Antarctica, Arctic Norway, Alaska and Baja California, to name a few. The company is known for its commitment to sustainable tourism and is the recipient of many environmental awards, including the Conde Nast Traveler Ecotourism Award (2002) and the ASTA/Smithsonian Magazine Environmental Award (1993). Sven Lindblad is a member of the General Assembly of the Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands; he serves on the National Council of the World Wildlife Fund and the Board of Directors of the Mexican Fund for the Conservation for Nature. He is a founding member of the Galapagos Conservation Fund and is a recipient of the United Nations Environmental Programme Global 500 Award (2001).

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