Santiago | Baja California Sur

Nov 19, 2019 - National Geographic Sea Lion


We awoke to one last gift from yesterday’s storm. A healthy swell was coming out of the southeast, making our early morning landings on the beach at Los Frailes a bit more of an extreme sport than was intended. The shuttle drivers opted for stern landings, which are generally reserved for such conditions, and all of our intrepid guests were eventually landed safely in time for the day’s activities. We had groups who opted for snorkeling, diving, and one large group that was bound for the Sol de Mayo rancho ecologico.

The drive to the ranch took us past a large resort that is currently under construction at La Riberos, and on through the town of Santiago of Baja California Sur, where we were privileged to see the famous oasis. Once at the ranch we quickly descended to a beautiful waterfall that was roaring with water from yesterday’s rains. The weather cooperated, and we all took advantage of the cool water to refresh ourselves.

After our swim we were treated to an audience with Don Prisciliano, the owner of the ranch. Don Prisciliano is no ordinary rancher though; he is the sixth generation of his family to operate it, and an accomplished naturalist and author. He runs the ranch as an eco-resort to raise awareness of local environmental issues and possesses an extraordinary depth of knowledge on the local flora and fauna.

Afterwards we went into town for a fine lunch at a local restaurant, and extended conversations on what we had seen and heard at this extraordinary ranch.

Communications with the ship revealed that the swell had worsened at Los Frailes, so a plan was drafted to go to the new resort at Los Riberos where we could meet with the Zodiacs for a safe trip back to the ship.

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About the Author

Jeff Campbell

Naturalist

Jeff Campbell fell in love with the ocean while attending boatbuilding school in Eastport, Maine. Since completing his MS in Marine and Estuarine Science at Western Washington University, he has worked for NOAA documenting the ecological impacts of transoceanic fiber-optic cable; the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife developing an aging method for sixgill sharks; the Lummi Tribe as a Harvest Biologist; Northwest Indian College teaching Fisheries and Wildlife Biology, and as a volunteer for the Whatcom County Marine Mammal Stranding Network. He has been involved in research developing mitigation methods for harmful algae blooms, sterilization methods for oil tanker ballast water, and techniques for screening refinery effluent for harmful ecological effects. He also served as Principle Director on a USDA-funded grant using student interns to study the impact of nutrient-rich run-off on seasonal dead-zones in Bellingham Bay.

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