Isla San Marcos, Sea of Cortez

Mar 20, 2019 - National Geographic Venture


Pre-dawn light found staff and guests waiting on the bow of National Geographic Venture in hopes of catching a green-flash sunrise over the Sea of Cortez that morning. As the eastern sky changed from the cooler colors of blue and violet to the warmer yellows and reds, the sun finally crested horizon. No green flash, but cameras clicked and whirred, pointed toward the horizon, as brown pelicans, blue-footed boobies, and magnificent frigatebirds soared above.

We spent our morning exploring the remote Isla San Marcos. Some chose to kayak or paddleboard, while others explored the arroyos of the Sonoran Desert Island on foot. Still others chose to explore offshore with Zodiacs in search of marine mammals. Our efforts were rewarded with sightings of long-beaked common dolphins, California sea lions, and bottlenose dolphins as well!

To bookend our beautiful sunrise the full moon rose in the east as our sun was setting in the west, affording beautiful views of a full moon. Mexican lore has it that there is a rabbit to be found in the face of a full moon, not the shape of a man as we believe in the United States. Can you find it when looking up at the full moon? Buena suerte!

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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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