Isla Carmen and Loreto

Mar 23, 2019 - National Geographic Venture


Wildlife was plentiful in the spectacular Sea of Cortez today. Beginning before breakfast, a blue whale was spotted off the bow, in addition to bow-riding bottlenose and common dolphins. The dolphins joined us as we made our way to our anchorage, just off the coquina cliffs of Arroyo Blanco on Isla Carmen. This was only the beginning of the show that Baja would put on for us today.

Some of us spent the morning on Zodiac tours, while others chose to fasten up for snorkeling. Sergeant majors and tan sea stars were seen beneath the surface, while a humpback whale and bottlenose dolphins were observed from above. On the way back from the beach, the snorkelers’ Zodiacs joined the tours and observed a feeding frenzy. The sky and surface of the water were speckled with brown pelicans and Hermann’s gulls, looking to catch the fish that the bottlenose dolphins missed and displaced, while the humpback whale disrupted the water with their own surfacing and feeding.

While the deck team picked up the anchor, we had our own feeding frenzy in the dining room and began to make our way towards Puerto Escondido to venture into Loreto by shore. We arrived at the dock later than scheduled, after stopping for yet another feeding frenzy off the bow. Another humpback had been spotted feeding amidst dolphins, pelicans, and gulls. This time, the humpback used a different tactic, and would blow bubbles in which to trap fish before rising to the surface, mouth open, catching any fish that were not lucky enough to jump out of the way. It was a wildlife photographer’s dream – knowing where the humpback would surface next in order to point cameras and set up the perfect shot. The frenzy we were observing moved farther away, and we were escorted partway to the dock by the dolphins, who chose to venture further alongside National Geographic Venture.

After Undersea Specialist Carlos Navarro gave us the background of the history of Loreto, we explored the town. Some headed out in search of the local brewery, some to find the art galleries. The colors of Baja that had been seen throughout the trip so far reflected themselves in the colors of the town, with micro-brews the shades of oxidized volcanic rock, and pottery painted with the vibrant colors of the sunsets, it is easy to remember all of the colors of this desert between the seas.

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About the Author

Sarah Friedlander

Naturalist

Growing up with a large backyard, Sarah spent her childhood exploring the woods and bringing home frogs. When asked not to bring frogs into the house, she learned the difference between frogs and toads and was soon asked not to bring toads into the house either. Raised just outside of Washington, DC, she considers herself lucky to have grown up with exposure to a combination of the outdoors and the city, as it helped her pick with certainty which one she wanted to spend all her time in - the outdoors.

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