Exploring Bahia Concepcion & Cruising for Wildlife

Apr 12, 2018 - National Geographic Sea Lion

As dawn broke a perfect Baja skyline, the National Geographic Sea Lion motored peacefully into the mouth of Bahia Concepcion, Mexico. Translated as “conception bay” the shallow body of water stretches into the Baja Peninsula to the south-southeast. The area is famous for being a nursery to large marine animals as well as a popular attraction for water sports and local activities.

The ship set anchor just off a small islet in the bay and before breakfast was even digested the beach was fully populated with a host of water sport toys and beach chairs, eagerly awaiting weary peduncles. The snorkel team escorted guests along the rocky reef where many a colorful fish and flamboyant invertebrate were discovered. The small water craft were also deployed. Kayaks roamed the nearshore area, discovering osprey nests and gull encampments. Some intrepid souls tested their luck against the paddleboards, and most were rewarded.

The expedition landing crafts were deployed in order to cruise the area in search of scenery and wildlife. Much to every one’s surprise a spectacular animal was discovered slowly patrolling the shallows. A whale shark! Everyone was eventually evacuated from the beach and brought a boat at a time to go view the marvelous fish. Whale sharks are the largest fish in the sea, and each only plankton. With an extremely wide mouth they take in large amounts of water and filter them over several pads of thousands of small modified teeth that strain out their prey.

A splendid morning full of activities and wildlife. Lunch was served on deck in barbeque fashion. To accompany us during the meal were a group of dolphins who wasted no time in taking advantage of the pressure wave created off the bow of the ship. They seemed to fly along just under the surface of the water, only occasionally breaking the waves to grab a quick breath and continue surfing along only inches from the roaring steel hull. Eventually the dolphins went their own way and we motored off into the sunset.

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About the Author

James Hyde


James is a home-grown, free-range Pacific Northwest outdoorsmen. Born in Seattle and reared nearby on Vashon Island, he grew up in and surrounded by the Salish Sea. James has saltwater in his veins, but would be quick to point out we all do, echoing Carl Safina " We are, in a sense, soft vessels of seawater." Born with the travel bug, James was fortunate enough to spend time on four continents before graduating college. During his studies at Western Washington University's Huxley College of the Environment, James went to Australia and visited the Great Barrier Reef. He was never the same. A lifetime of playing in the productive, but opaque green water of the Northwest had offered him little firsthand experience of the creatures below its depths, but with a clear view of the colorful dramas playing out across the bottom of the tropical Pacific, he was hooked. Scuba diving and underwater ecology were solidified as his passion and after college, it took him to a dive shop in Seattle fixing gear, tidepooling with local middle school students, and generally making a spectacle of himself in the surf.

About the Videographer

Dexter Sear

Video Chronicler

Dexter grew up in England where a love for exploring the countryside ignited a lifelong passion for discovering natural history and embarking on adventure. As a teenager, two trips to India sparked a fascination with insects and a desire to share a “hidden” macro world was born. He produced a popular insect website and authored a reader digest about cultural entomology.

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