Isla San Francisco

Mar 25, 2019 - National Geographic Venture

Early morning found National Geographic Venture anchoring by Isla San Francisco, just south of our bonfire site at Isla San Jose. The same oranges and reds let off from the preceding night now illuminated the sky as the sun rose over the Sea of Cortez, lending a brilliant shimmer across the waters of Half Moon Bay. That morning we ate our satisfying breakfast in the distant company of the island we were soon to explore.

Ridge hikes and photographic salt flat walks on land as well as off-shore tours by Zodiac, kayaking, paddleboarding, and snorkeling were all part of today’s itinerary. The ridge hikers saw marked terrain change as they moved inland from the smoothed shell and volcanic rock beach into soft, grass-filled dunes and later soil and settled volcanic scree. After crossing through the various ecosystems of Isla San Francisco and passing by empty osprey nests and ossified lava, our ridge hikers eventually worked their way up to a bird’s-eye view of the activities happening around them.

The afternoon of cruising had whitecaps for navigating at first, but National Geographic Venture sailed through with relative ease, with only a gentle side-to-side rocking, despite the swells. The passengers gathered on the bow to view sperm whales, and not for the first time since we’ve been out here! Conditions were prime for excitement this afternoon, with the whitecaps and slight swell meaning we would have to search through our binoculars and long lenses in order to catch those sought-after views of angled spouts and sperm whale backs.

As we headed further south, the swells calmed, allowing a more favorable space for drinks with friends, reading, and scanning for more wildlife. As the sun was setting, common dolphins began bow-riding towards the sunset. With the guests gathered in the lounge for the day’s recap on adventures, our expedition leader encouraged everyone to come out to the bow and enjoy the dolphins.

This day marks our last day in the Sea of Cortez. After today, our journey will continue around the Baja peninsula. This has been a day plenty in wildlife and adventure, and one of many over the course of this week that we will not forget!

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About the Author

Sarah Friedlander


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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