Daily Expedition Reports

Daily reports from our days in the field


  • Bahia Magdalena

    It was in the early hours of the morning, heading south from Laguna San Ignacio, that our ship reached the calm waters of Bahia Magdalena. The first half of our day was exploratory. Hikers stopped to appreciate a variety of plants native to the region, and kayakers paddled along the shore and into a mangrove channel while beach walkers scanned the bay’s terrain for shells and other keepsakes. The afternoon was a relaxing one as our group walked along the dunes of Sand Dollar Beach.  At cocktail hour, we gathered to recount the day’s adventures on the sun deck while local musicians Coyotes de Magdalena performed as the evening sunset gave way to that night’s full moon.

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  • Laguna San Ignacio, Baja California

    We began early today, boarding expedition landing crafts to head into San Ignacio Bay. Semi-turbulent water over the sandbar made for an adventurous ride. When we arrived at the beach, we were greeted by our skilled panga operators, known as “pangeros.” Once aboard, we set off in search of whales and other bay wildlife.

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  • Laguna San Ignacio, Baja California

    Laguna San Ignacio is situated inside a large bight of the west coast of Baja California, about 400 nautical miles south of the US-Mexico border. The temperate, shallow waters of the lagoon attract quite a variety of wildlife. California gray whales arrive near the end of January each year to calve their young. Other migratory wildlife including shorebirds, gulls, dophins, and sea birds all gather here, using the lagoon to stop and rest during migration, or instead spend the winter giving birth to their young. Today, our newest ship National Geographic Venture makes her first ever visit to Laguna San Ignacio while the gray whales are still arriving from their northern feeding grounds. To best view the wildlife up close, we were transported around the lagoon by local guides in traditional “pangas,” the local watercraft of choice. The abundant wildlife of the bay made for a remarkable day of exploration and adventure for our guests.

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  • At Sea

    National Geographic Venture departed Cabo San Lucas last night. We sailed all night and all day today, on our way to San Ignacio Lagoon, where we will arrive tomorrow. We had a very nice day, which started with a beautiful sunrise near Isla Santa Margarita, one of the four islands that form Bahia Magdalena. The mountains of these exotic terrains were adorned with thick fog sitting on their summits, and the early morning light made them look spectacular.

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  • Land’s End: San Jose del Cabo

    Today was one of transition, from the Gulf of California (i.e. Sea of Cortez) to the Pacific Ocean. As we rounded the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula, we started to see humpback whales being active on the surface. These whales are in the region to mate or to give birth. It was great to see another cetacean species on our journey. At this point we could also see ‘Los Cabos,’ the two towns on the peninsula: San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas. 

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  • Los Islotes and San Francisco Island

    Our second full day exploring Mexico’s Sea of Cortez started in a gorgeous way with a beautiful sunrise that painted not only the sky, but the islands and the peninsula of Baja California, with great colors. We thought that it is possibly true that those early Spaniard explorers from the 1500s named this place the “Vermillion Sea” and the “Red Sea” after the impressive sunrises and sunsets here. Shortly afterwards we arrived to Los Islotes, which was our morning destination. Los Islotes is one of three islands that are part of the “Espiritu Santo Island-Complex Biosphere Reserve,” part of the Natural Protected Areas network that Mexico has put together. That reserve is also world-famous for the colony of California sea lions that call Los Islotes home, and being fairly close to the capital city of La Paz, many people visit them. And that’s exactly what we did immediately after breakfast! We got our snorkel gear, donned our wetsuits, and jumped into the water to admire and interact with those awesome creatures. Oh my lord, they are fun! Visiting them underwater is the best way to really appreciate how marvelously adapted they are to the marine realm, and I have to admit that I always get jealous of their swimming and diving capabilities. We also visited them using our Zodiacs and got the chance to observe them from a different perspective as they rested, socialized and vocalized on the rocks.

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  • Gulf of California and Puerto Gato

    Dolphins! Get up, get on deck, and join the dolphins at sunrise. Pilot whales! Not up yet? Then come for the pilot whales and dolphins. Okay, now it’s time for breakfast. Are you finished yet? Because there are sperm whales! Swallow that oatmeal and come on out, but wait, what are those splashes to the west? Bottlenose dolphins! The cetaceans did not seem to want to stop this morning, we were so lucky and grateful for such an awesome showing of wildlife.

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  • Isla San Franciscito

    It was the last day of the trip, and National Geographic Venture began the day with an Exhale-led stretch class on the aft deck and a stunning sunrise off the bow. The ship anchored at Isla San Franciscito and everyone headed to shore for a day of adventure. The shore activities started with hikes and tide pooling. Later on, the kayaks and stand up paddle-boards were unloaded, giving us all the chance to play in the water. After lunch snorkeling was a big hit and the day ended as it began, with Exhale-led yoga and a beautiful sunset.

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  • Los Islotes & Kelly’s Beach

    Today was an awesome day here in Baja on National Geographic Venture. From swimming with sea lions, to bow riding dolphins, to a beach BBQ, our guests enjoyed an adventurous full day.

  • San Jose Channel and Puerto Los Gatos

    One thing that makes the Gulf of California so special is its incredible sunrises and sunsets. This morning as we sailed north, the sun came out painting the entire sky in pinks and purples. A particularly beautiful scene to witness sunrise is the magnificent Sierra de la Giganta, or “Mountain Range of the Giantess.” The volcanic rocks form walls that emerge from the sea, reflecting some of the warmest and most beautiful light.

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