Los Islotes and Isla San Jose

Dec 25, 2019 - National Geographic Venture


The morning held new experience and great adventure for the guests aboard National Geographic Venture. California sea lions hauled out on the rocks of Los Islotes and swam through the surrounding waters. As the first snorkelers were about to enter the water, one of the sea lions decided to enter the boat, gracefully leaping onto the bow of the Zodiac and spending about 15 minutes on board. After the sea lion went back into the water, the snorkelers followed suit. Once in the water, snorkelers found a variety of fish below the surface and playful sea lions darted and leapt around them. Zodiac tours looked at the sea lions on shore and searched the volcanic rocks, finding turkey vultures, brown pelicans, brown boobies, and blue-footed boobies.

The wildlife continued to be plentiful on our way north from Los Islotes to Isla San Jose. Bow-riding bottlenose dolphins accompanied the vessel for part of the cruise. Gulls searched for easy prey that was trying to escape the dolphins and frigate birds dipped down towards the water in order to steal some food away from the dolphins and gulls.

The afternoon held adventurous hikes to the end of the arroyo, while other walks observed the area through the lens of a camera or talked about the natural history of the area and stopped to take a closer look at the smaller details of the island. After the recent rains in the area, the arroyo at Mangle Solo on Isla San Jose was vibrant with life – from flowers to deciduous tree leaves to fruits.  The night culminated with a delicious beach barbeque and bonfire with s’mores. An incredible sunset illuminated the mountains of the peninsula in brilliant purple and orange light. One could not have asked for a more perfect day in the Sea of Cortez.

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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.

About the Photographer

Stella Bohnert

Assistant Expedition Leader

Stella has called many exotic locations—from New York City to Zihuatanejo, Mexico, to Okoboji, Iowa—home. A childhood in Seattle instilled in her a great love of drizzle, while three years living in Mexico after high school honed her Spanish skills. She spent several years flying with the U.S. military around the world and back again as a flight attendant for a small charter airline. Living and working on board expedition vessels was a natural choice for Stella’s migratory instinct, and wrangling expedition logistics fits her profound love for color-coding and VHF radio.

About the Videographer

Dexter Sear

Video Chronicler

Dexter grew up in England where a love for exploring the countryside ignited a lifelong passion for discovering natural history and embarking on adventure. As a teenager, two trips to India sparked a fascination with insects and a desire to share a “hidden” macro world was born. He produced a popular insect website and authored a reader digest about cultural entomology.

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