Bahía los Frailes

Feb 08, 2019 - National Geographic Sea Bird


We awoke in peaceful Bahia los Frailes after a tumultuous night of rough seas. This bay is protected on the windward side by Cerro los Frailes, a 750-foot-high mountain of solid granite named so because it looked like Catholic friars. Two miles of tan sand stretched westward and embraced a lovely turquoise bay.

Although the north wind continued to blow, we were soon off on adventures. Some guests walked to an enclosed lagoon and admired the plants along the way. A highlight for the birders was finding an endemic gray thrasher, found nowhere else in the world but southern Baja California. Some guests then hiked up the rugged Friars Rocks. There was no trail, so the challenge came from trying to avoid the knife-like thorns and cholla spines rather than from the elevation. The striking view far below showed Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park, our anchorage, and the crescent beach—a reward well worth the effort and occasional scratches.

Later on, guests snorkeled around granite boulders among Cortez angelfish and schools of yellowtail snappers. The trailing dorsal fins and black-and-yellow bodies of Moorish idols looked stunning. We were entertained in the afternoon with a presentation on how desert plants survive in this inhospitable environment that offers too much sunlight and not enough water. The story of tequila was a multifaceted subject covered later in the day, and we had the chance to taste several delicious varieties provided by the hotel staff.

Our full day ended with a preview of the trip’s video chronicle and a microscopic view of tiny marine invertebrates from a plankton tow.

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About the Author

Pete Pederson

Naturalist

Pete Pederson has always been attracted to the out-of-doors and is fascinated by the diversity of life and how natural systems function. He studied zoology and completed his Master of Science degree in wildlife management at Humboldt State University in northern California. As a graduate student, through a U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service grant, he researched the feeding ecology of northern pintails and mallards, a project that combined his interests in ornithology and invertebrate zoology. Although drawn to many aspects of nature, Pete especially enjoys helping others understand more about marine mammals, birds, and geology. He is guided by a passion for these subjects and by the joy he gets from sharing them with people.

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