DAY 2-7: Exploring the Sea of Cortez
As writer and longtime Lindblad naturalist, Stewart Aitchison describes it - “The Sea of Cortez – it’s a romantic name that conjures up visions of fiery sunsets, leaping dolphins, and deserted beaches.”
It is all this and so much more. Our routing is designed with flexibility in mind, to maximize opportunities for wildlife sightings. It will most likely include the islands and activities listed below, although the order may vary. (B,L,D daily)
Isla San Esteban and San Pedro Mártir:
Walk up a desert wash, to search for desert songbirds such as the handsome black-throated sparrow, listen for the cascading song of the canyon wren and search for the endemic pinto chuckwalla—a plump, harmless desert lizard. Later visit Isla San Pedro Mártir, a 1,000-foot-high guano-covered island that is home to thousands of seabirds: brown pelicans, magnificent frigatebirds, Brandt’s cormorants, and California sea lions.
Isla San Marcos:
At Isla San Marcos there is a beautiful shoreline for swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking. In the afternoon we are again in rich waters, near the mouth of Bahía Concepción. Here we are on the lookout for pods of dolphins – with common and bottlenose dolphins being the most frequently encountered species. With luck these beautiful animals may join us as we go, riding the bow wave, sometimes twisting and turning, and sometimes leaping from the water.
Isla San José:
One of the larger islands in the Sea of Cortez, San José offers several landing possibilities depending on conditions and the whim of the moment. Photograph the ochre cliffs of the island’s eastern shore, hike an enchanted, cactus-laden arroyo and visit the abandoned salt works to the west. Snorkel with sea lions and discover rare wildlife among desert islands.
Bahía Loreto Marine Park:
This morning we’ll search for the waters south of Isla Carmen, an area offering the possibility of encountering fin whales which researchers have recently concluded may be part a resident population. Bottlenose and common dolphins are frequently encountered. In the afternoon we visit one of the islands of Bahía Loreto Marine Park, with ample time for kayaking, snorkeling, stand-up paddleboarding and possibly hiking. In the evening, enjoy a beach barbecue under the desert sky.
Los Islotes and Isla San Francisco:
At Los Islotes, don flippers, a mask and snorkel (which we’ll gladly provide) and swim with curious sea lions. We have a leisurely afternoon to swim, kayak or hike at Isla San Francisco. Look skyward for yellow-footed gulls, brown pelicans, and blue-footed boobies.