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Punta Dispensa, Espiritu Santo Island

Jan 09, 2017 - National Geographic Sea Bird

The National Geographic Sea Bird spent the day at anchor in front of Punta Dispensa, the southernmost point of Espiritu Santo Island. It is a wonderful place to enjoy the Gulf of California at its best. One of the highlights is the snorkeling site, which has plenty of healthy corals and a plethora of tropical fish. The beach is one of the best places to look for interesting creatures that have been washed out by the sea, while the desert offers interesting walks. Water activities were quite popular as well. The protected bay was the perfect place to venture out by kayak and stand-up paddleboard.

Towards the later afternoon, when the light was becoming magical, we navigated in our expedition landing crafts towards a nearby bay, called Bahia San Gabriel. Located on the west side of Espiritu Santo, it is one of the many majestic bays featuring turquoise water and red stones dotted with wild fig trees and cardón cacti. San Gabriel has historical importance as well, since a pearl oyster farm once existed there. We can still see the ruins of this farm, but the main attraction is a small colony of magnificent frigatebirds. These amazing creatures take advantage of a small patch of mangroves, which provide good habitat for them to roost and nest. We saw a few hundred frigatebirds very close to our boats as we slowly cruised next to them. Some of the adult males were in full display of their red gular pouches, hoping to attract females. Some of the males were also carrying twigs to offer the females as nesting material.

Frigatebirds are some of the most amazing flyers. With an amazing capacity to glide, they hardly ever have to flap their long wings in order to gain altitude. We watched several dozens of them as they climbed a thermal quite effortlessly. We all enjoyed a day full of activities exploring the magical Gulf of California.

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About the Author

  • Alberto Montaudon Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor
    Alberto fell in love with nature as a young child. Born and raised in Tampico, Tamaulipas, Mexico, he spent most of his childhood exploring the Chairlel Lagoon and the Tamesi River. Each morning he would patiently wait in his rowboat for sunrise to witness the great groups of migrating birds that would land on the water. His father taught him from a very early age to understand, love, and respect nature. As a result of his upbringing, Alberto became biologist and decided to follow his passion and became a naturalist. At age 21, Alberto began working with Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic in Baja California. Since then he has been sharing interests that range from bird biology to undersea exploration to wildlife photography with thousands of guests.