Santa Rosa Island

Oct 26, 2018 - National Geographic Sea Lion

The decks of the National Geographic Sea Lion are bathed in the light of a waning gibbous moon in the pre-dawn hours at Bechers Bay on Santa Rosa Island. Morning is a quiet time on the ship, peaceful, damp with fog, your sense of hearing more important than sight. A flood tide murmurs and fills the bay as Ursa Major watches from above.

Photographers find their way to the bow at first light seeking color and texture in the seascape. A green flash on the horizon of Santa Cruz Island, blink and you’ve missed it. Our day has begun. Endemic Torrey pines and island oaks are focal points of the mornings’ hikes, but island poppies steal the show. Meanwhile, paddle boarders and kayakers explore the offshore kelp beds with seals and sea lions. A large pod of common dolphins rides the bow of National Geographic Sea Lion during the afternoons’ southerly cruise.  A guest plays guitar as the fog rolls in, and a quiet evening settles. 

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About the Author

Daniel Baldwin


An educator at heart, Dan finds great joy in opening doors for others to explore and connect with the world around them. He has taught marine sciences in the Florida Keys and on Catalina Island, and science and math in international schools in Mexico, Costa Rica, and the South Pacific. 

About the Photographer

Rich Reid

National Geographic Photographer

Award-winning photographer and filmmaker Rich Reid has specialized in environmental and adventure photography for over two decades. On assignment with National Geographic Adventure magazine, he cycled Alaska’s Inside Passage by ferry and explored California’s Gaviota Coast by bike and kayak. North American Nature Photography Association elected Rich as a Fellow for his significant contributions to the nature photography industry, and he was a finalist for the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year for his time-lapse video documenting forest fire ecology.

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