Isla San Francisco

Jan 04, 2020 - National Geographic Venture

Understandably, Baja is known for its sunrises, and today did not disappoint. Just before the sun crested the horizon, the mountains of the Baja peninsula were painted with a rosy-pink glow. As we began taking in this epic and beautiful sight, we spotted three bottlenose dolphins swimming towards National Geographic Venture. Occasionally these playful marine mammals will ride on the pressure wave created by the bow of our ship, and we were lucky enough that these three individuals put on a morning show for us. It was a wonderful start to a day full of adventure and beauty.

Though small Isla San Francisco is packed with a variety of habitats and remarkable sights. Our first perspective was from the Zodiacs where we cruised through the bays looking at the birds and crabs dotting the shorelines. Our naturalist Adam had set up the ROV (remote operated vehicle) so we could see how he uses one of our many tools of exploration to explore the undersea world. Once on land, some of the more adventurous scrambled up 350 feet to walk along the ridge of the island offering breathtaking views of the bay below. From here we could look down on osprey and vultures while enjoying the wonderful geology before us. On the salt flats we observed many of the plants and animals that presented themselves to us. This island had something to show at every corner.

After lunch, we snorkeled and saw schooling fish, an eel, and other examples of the marine life that Baja has to offer. While walking around the island afterwards, Adrian our naturalist showed us a chuckwalla, and Christine another naturalist introduced us to an amazing assortment of the marine life that lives in the intertidal zone.

As the sun started to set, illuminating the island in orange hues, we started our beach barbecue. The wind calmed, the bonfire flickered, and we relaxed into another wonderful night on our voyage.

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About the Author

Steve Backus


Born in the mountains of East Tennessee, it was easy for Steve to fall in love with the wonderful natural environment that surrounded him. What started as a childhood passion to scan the creeks and ponds for all they would reveal evolved into a studied desire to understand the environments around us.

About the Videographer

Ashley Karitis

Video Chronicler

Ashley was raised in Central Oregon where she spent her childhood ski racing, riding horses, playing classical piano, and working summer jobs on a dude ranch. She then attended the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles earning degrees in cinema-television, history, and international relations. Although immersed in the studies of narrative filmmaking, she gravitated toward the process, deeper on-camera conversations, and scientific and human themes explored in documentary production.

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