Isla San Francisco and La Paz

Jan 23, 2020 - National Geographic Venture

Hard toget up, glad to be up was the theme of the morning. The intrepid among us set out before sunrise to Half Moon Bay on Isla San Francisco in order to make the most of the morning light. The sunrise painted the landscape around us with hues of pink, red, and gold. From below, photographers dotted the ridgeline that encircles the bay making the most of the dawn before us. As the morning progressed, we set out on foot to explore the island, taking in the flora and fauna it presented to us. Peregrine falcons and osprey set out in search of prey while black-throated sparrows sang their dawn chorus. It was yet another amazing morning in Baja.

After a hearty and much anticipated brunch, we set south en route to La Paz. During our transit Greg Marshall showed us captivating footage from his CritterCam project and told us stories about how it has led to understanding and conservation. We spent time on the bow, taking in the amazing weather and gorgeous islands as we sailed towards our destination. Mobula rays, humpback whales, and blue-footed boobies presented themselves much to our enjoyment. As we entered La Paz, undersea specialist Carlos Navarro taught us about the history of La Paz and the European exploration of Baja California. This was followed by wonderful footage provided by the dive team from their morning excursion at Half Moon Bay.

We came to La Paz for the party! Local dancers and musicians brought in the night along with artisans and other performers. Our event was hosted on the Malecon, the central hub for night life in La Paz. While enjoying dinner a wonderful soprano and pianist entertained us as the sun set. It was truly a beautiful event and a great wrap up to another great day in Baja.

  • Send

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.

Get our newsletter

Join us for updates, insider reports & special offers.

Privacy Policy