Canal de Ballenas

Apr 10, 2019 - National Geographic Venture


National Geographic Venture traveled north throughout the night. By morning, the sun’s first rays found her sailing in the Gulf of California’s midriff region, in a deep-water channel known as the Canal de Ballenas. Situated between the Baja peninsula and Ángel de la Guarda Island, this channel brings in some of the largest seawater flows in this area. Resulting from this is an upwelling of tidal current brings key nutrients to the surface, from which come plankton blooms.

Subsequently, it is no coincidence that the biggest nesting colonies of seabirds in the Sea of Cortez occupy this space! The presence of this island is an imposing one, idyllic almost, and seems to loom over the region with a certain vigilance.

However, it was not only the tidal current that ran strong today: The winds blew with great enthusiasm as well, and we decided to continue sailing throughout the day. Taking advantage of today’s conditions, we caught up on photo-editing, reading, and much needed R&R. Later in the day, we attended lectures and workshops ranging from smartphone photography, to plants and desert creatures, to the plight of the vaquita and the totoaba.

A delicious taco buffet at dinner marked the end of true expedition as we coursed our way through the dynamic and beautiful Sea of Cortez.

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About the Author

Carlos Navarro

Undersea Specialist

Carlos J. Navarro is a biochemist specializing in marine biology, a M. Sc. in Environmental Management and a freelance wildlife photographer/author. Carlos has spent most of the last 30 years living along the shores of the Sea of Cortez and participating in numerous scientific, conservation and environmental education projects on the vaquita, marine invertebrates, sea birds, great white sharks, baleen whales, jaguars and crocodiles. Carlos’ six years of jaguar research provided the basis of ONCA MAYA, a non-profit organization dedicated to jaguar conservation based in Cancun, of which he is a founding member and still serves as a scientific advisor. He loves being underwater, either free-diving or using SCUBA gear and have had the chance to explore the underwater realms of Alaska, Mexico, Svalbard, the trans-Atlantic ridge islands, the Caribbean and both coasts of South America from Panama to Chile and Brazil to Argentina. 

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