Isla San Martin

Dec 11, 2018 - National Geographic Venture

Continuing our journey southward along the Baja Peninsula, changes in the landscape, vegetation, and culture began to make themselves apparent. Isla San Martin, an extinct cinder cone volcano and our stop for the morning, is considered the southernmost of the Channel Islands. In contrast to our earlier stops at Northern Channel Islands like Santa Rosa and Santa Catalina, San Martin was never exposed to the pressures of grazing by introduced ranch animals and features a unique community of native species, including six native reptiles and a host of succulents and lichens. Guests took the opportunity to explore to island’s coastline by Zodiac and spotted marine life like harbor seals and bullwhip kelp alongside the small vessels used by the island’s fishing cooperative.

With everyone back on board, Captain Cook raised the anchor and began cruising in search of marine megafauna. Between presentations by naturalist Emily Pickering on the region’s oceanography and National Geographic photographer Octavio Aburto on the importance of mangroves, guests viewed humpback whales breaching repeatedly and an ocean sunfish floating near the surface. For many, it was a memorable and exciting first sighting.  

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About the Author

Alex Krowiak

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

A childhood surrounded by the woods and streams of Pennsylvania initially sparked Alex’s curiosity about nature. That curiosity eventually led him to pursue degrees in biology and environmental studies at Boston College. During his time there he conducted research on carnivorous plants in Iceland and kelp forests in South Africa. Together these diverse experiences provided him with the background and passion to become a teacher. 

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