Cabo Pulmo and the Cape Region

Feb 19, 2020 - National Geographic Venture

Today we started our day in the vicinity of Cabo San Lucas after having sailed South throughout the night; long before sunrise we started seeing the lights of the famous town and as the sun came out we were rounding Land's End, as the granitic formation at the southern part of the peninsula of Baja California is known. Cabo San Lucas is world renowned as a fishing hot spot and as Captain Andrew Cook expertly maneuvered National Geographic Venture in front of the iconic rock arch, numerous sport fishing boats raced past us on their daily pursuit of striped marlin, sailfish, dorado and wahoo. We admired the rock formations with the beautiful early morning light many portraits and selfies were taken from the ship's bow with the arch in the background.


We had the pleasure to watch several groups of bottlenose dolphins riding the pressure wave in front of the ship’s bow and everyone cheered their high jumps with joy! The waters around the Cape Region, which includes Cabo San Lucas, San José del Cabo and the Gorda Banks, are well known to be one of the main breeding grounds for humpback whales in the North Pacific and we spent the entire morning searching for them. We saw the first of many humpbacks shortly after leaving Land's End and kept watching whales throughout the morning; some by themselves and others in pairs or groups of males chasing a female and competing among them to be the one that gains the lady's favors.  


After lunch we arrived at Cabo Pulmo and went snorkeling in the small but extraordinary National Park, considered the crown's jewel of the Mexican network of natural protected areas. Paul North and I went SCUBA diving in order to take underwater video and document the extraordinary recovery of marine life that made Cabo Pulmo world famous with a rebound of 463% of fish biomass, the largest documented anywhere in the planet. Everyone enjoyed watching healthy corals and all kinds of tropical fish, including convict tangs, Mexican goatfish, yellow snappers and coral hawkfish; Paul and I also filmed a number of bull sharks, whose mere presence here speaks volumes about the health of the Park. Cabo Pulmo constitutes a very encouraging example of how Nature can recover when we give her a chance and together with the numerous humpback whales that we saw today, made for a wonderful first day in the Sea of Cortez.

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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. 

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