Land’s End & San José del Cabo

Jan 24, 2018 - National Geographic Sea Bird


After having sailed south all night long, the National Geographic Sea Bird arrived to the southern end of the Baja California Peninsula shortly before sunrise. The lights of the world famous Cabo San Lucas were still on, and a humpback whale showed its flukes up in the air just in front of the granitic rock formation at Land’s End. Many yachts, pangas, and other vessels moved quickly away from the marina towards the open ocean to start their daily quest for mahi-mahi (better known there as dorado) while the iconic rock arch changed colors as the sun came up from the Eastern horizon and a peregrine falcon flew around.

We continued sailing deeper into the Sea of Cortez and arrived to the quieter of the two settlements in the Capes area, San José del Cabo. San José is the original town founded by Jesuit missionaries in the early 1700s and was a most important stop-over and lifesaver to those sailors running the Manila Galleon commercial route between the Philippines and Acapulco. We spent the morning ashore there, some visiting the mission, attending a demonstration of ancient skills at a glassblowing factory and exploring the streets and shops in downtown. Others went birding at the San José river estuary a few blocks away and had the chance to watch numerous aquatic and land bird species, including a lifer for many of them, the Belding’s yellowthroat endemic to the southern half of the peninsula.

Later we continued our journey and spent the afternoon sailing around the Gordo Banks and Cabo Pulmo area looking for marine life. And marine life we found! We saw shearwaters, phalaropes and red-billed tropicbirds, flying fishes, and a few jumping mobula and manta rays that amused everyone. However, humpback whales won the prize today, particularly a couple of them that breached multiple times and gave us a great show. What a fantastic way to finish our first day inside the Sea of Cortez!

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About the Author

Carlos Navarro

Undersea Specialist

Carlos J. Navarro is a biochemist specializing in marine biology, a M. Sc. in Environmental Management and a freelance wildlife photographer/author. Carlos has spent most of the last 30 years living along the shores of the Sea of Cortez and participating in numerous scientific, conservation and environmental education projects on the vaquita, marine invertebrates, sea birds, great white sharks, baleen whales, jaguars and crocodiles. Carlos’ six years of jaguar research provided the basis of ONCA MAYA, a non-profit organization dedicated to jaguar conservation based in Cancun, of which he is a founding member and still serves as a scientific advisor. He loves being underwater, either free-diving or using SCUBA gear and have had the chance to explore the underwater realms of Alaska, Mexico, Svalbard, the trans-Atlantic ridge islands, the Caribbean and both coasts of South America from Panama to Chile and Brazil to Argentina. 

About the Videographer

James Napoli

Video Chronicler

Jim was born in rural New England where he quickly developed an appreciation for the outdoors and a love of exploration.  Four years with the U.S. Navy further enhanced his appetite for travel. Always interested in the visual arts, he studied Television at Boston University and Northeast College of Communications, landing his first job in the industry working as an editor at a Boston television station. His wanderlust drew him to a job with two major cruise lines; installing and managing broadcast centers onboard a total of over a dozen ships. He has since moved on to specialize in expedition travel and wildlife productions.  

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