Cabo Pulmo and the Cape Region

Jan 14, 2020 - National Geographic Venture

This morning National Geographic Venture anchored just outside of Cabo Pulmo National Park, located in the southeastern portion of the cape region at the end of the Baja California Peninsula. The story of Cabo Pulmo is one of conservation success, and tremendously inspiring. It all started when a small group of families who lived there realized that the number of fish that they were catching continue to diminish over time and, in an extremely bold and unprecedented maneuver, decided to stop fishing. With the help of members of the scientific community of La Paz they convinced the Mexican government to declare the area a National Park. They had a hard time at the beginning, trying to make a living doing all kinds of jobs in the neighboring Cabo San Lucas or San Jose del Cabo, but they kept their word, did not catch any more fish and made sure than nobody else did. In the meantime, nature kept her course showing that if we let her rest, she can recover. Scientists monitoring the recovery of fish populations shocked the conservation world when they published their results showing that Cabo Pulmo experienced the biggest rebound of fish biomass of any marine reserve in the planet, after a decade and a half of real protection.

Cabo Pulmo is now full of big schools of fish and this morning we enjoyed them by snorkeling or, lucky me, scuba diving. Huge mesmerizing schools of yellow snapper, Mexican goatfish and porkfish surrounding large numbers of big predators like leopard, broomtail and gulf groupers, dog snappers and even bull sharks. What a treat to see sharks! It is believed that we have lost already about 90 % of the larger requiem sharks around the world and their presence here speak volumes about the health of the area.

We sailed around the Cape region towards the tip of the peninsula and encountered a number of humpback whales. They use the region as one of their main breeding and calving grounds in the north Pacific and had an excellent chance to admire them before reaching Cabo San Lucas and Land’s End, where we watched the sunset while sipping mojitos on deck. What a day!

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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. 

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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