Punta Belcher, Magdalena Bay

Mar 23, 2018 - National Geographic Sea Lion


This morning National Geographic Sea Lion slipped out of the open Pacific Ocean and into the calm waters of Magdalena Bay in Baja California Sur. Rounding the southern tip of Magdalena Island we anchored off Punta Belcher. Soon after my very good friends Shane and Julie anchored beside us in their 47’ Formosa sailboat Isabella! After years of preparations to sail around the world, they had left Long Beach a few days earlier and here we are together in Magdalena Bay at Punta Belcher! What a lovely reunion! 

Punta Belcher itself has a very storied past as it was the site of a shore-based whaling station in the late 1800’s. In the 1930’s and 40’s the point was the home of a turtle meat processing station. In the 1960’s a company called Roca Fosfórica Mexicana built a huge dock to load deep-water cargo ships with phosphate, which they mined across the bay in Puerto San Carlos. The pilings and remains of some of the dock survive today. 

Our morning unraveled walking the beach and exploring the old site, now turned into a seasonal shark fishing camp. All manner of treasures await beachcombers and we took full advantage of our time ashore to enjoy the things that the ocean had deposited on the beach for us to find. Dead red pelagic crabs, sea horses, lobster and crab carcasses, and even a few dolphin and sea lion bones became the subject of still life photography! 

Our afternoon pleasantly slipped by heading south towards our adventures of tomorrow when we plan to leave the Pacific Ocean and enter into the Sea of Cortez. A few humpback whales and many common dolphins accompanied us on our southward course. Stay tuned dear reader for more adventures from National Geographic Sea Lion!

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About the Author

Michael Nolan

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Michael Nolan was born in Bitburg, Germany to an Air Force family stationed there. His first experience of the ocean came at age 12, when he learned to snorkel in the Italian Mediterranean. At age 17 he moved to Tucson, Arizona and became a PADI SCUBA instructor, before starting a SCUBA diving business that specialized in diving trips to the Sea of Cortez.

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