Isla San Francisco & Los Islotes

Feb 09, 2018 - National Geographic Sea Bird


It rained last night! We walked out onto the decks this morning with coffee in hand to the lovely scent of the wet desert. The sun rose through a bank of clouds in pinks and golds and blues, with distant rain falling on the peninsula. We dropped anchor just off Isla San Francisco and headed to shore for morning activities. Kayakers paddled around a quiet bay, admiring fish swarming below in turquoise water. Walkers strolled across the island, learning about plant adaptations and looking for wildlife. There is an interesting salt flat on this island where people have dug large, shallow holes that fill with salt water and evaporate, leaving behind copious quantities of salt. Hikers looking for some heart-pounding exercise scaled a ridge with fantastic views over the entire area and the Sea of Cortez. From the top of the ridge we spotted a large osprey nest and three adult osprey circling and calling overhead.

As lunch ended, we came across a group of dolphins which playfully zoomed around our ship, periodically leaping into midair pirouettes to the delight of photographers. For the afternoon we anchored at Los Islotes, a tiny speck of rock jutting out of the waves. Here we deployed our snorkel boat and guests enjoyed the colorful fish as well as the main attraction: California sea lions. When we arrived, sea lions were basking on the rocks, barking, and growling at one another. Once we were in the water, they jumped in to join us, swimming around the group with boisterous curiosity and even performing aerial acrobatics. In the late afternoon we headed out for our last expedition landing craft tour of the week around Los Islotes, watching sea lions dive under our boats and keeping an eye out for blue-footed boobies lurking on cliff ledges. Before dinner our undersea specialist showed video footage from the snorkel excursions and we watched the guest slideshow featuring the group's favorite images from the week. It's been a wonderful week together in Baja California, and we will all look forward to traveling together again soon!


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About the Author

Emily Mount

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Emily grew up in Niwot, Colorado and Pullman, Washington. Her love of nature began as a child during family vacations spent hiking, camping and exploring the mountains and deserts of the west. In contrast to her outdoors interests, Emily pursued an intensive young career as a classical violinist, culminating in degrees in history and music performance at the University of Washington.  

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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