Hilo residents might have spotted an unusual vessel in Hilo Harbor this week.
National Geographic’s expedition ship Orion stopped in Hilo on Thursday after a 10-day tour of French Polynesia, including the Marquesas Islands and Tuamotu Archipelago.
The ship, which takes adventure-oriented travelers to exotic and hard-to-reach places around the world, carries 102 guests in 53 cabins.
The Orion is equipped with a full complement of “cool tools” to explore the environment, including kayaks, Zodiacs and even a remotely operated underwater vehicle.
The ship’s size and nimbleness allow it to voyage to “untrammeled locations, where large Arctic cruise ships and less veteran expedition teams cannot go,” according to National Geographic Expeditions.
The trips cost an average of about $1,000 per day, according to a National Geographic spokesperson.
Later this summer, the Orion will journey to the Arctic and Russia’s Far East region before heading out for a wildlife cruise in Antarctica.