Daily Expedition Reports

Daily reports from our days in the field

  • Los Islotes & Isla Espiritu Santo

    Waking up for the last sunrise of our amazing Baja expedition, the National Geographic Sea Bird arrived at the small, rocky islets of Los Islotes to a welcoming party of California sea lions lazing on the sun-drenched rocks and magnificent frigatebirds soaring overhead. Looking on with excitement at a feeding frenzy of dolphins in the distance and a mother and calf humpback whale pair cruising nearby, we geared up to spend our morning snorkeling with the sea lions. 

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  • Punta Colorada and Puerto Gato

    The morning began before dawn, with Zodiac rides to the beach on Punta Colorada. Everyone took the opportunity to go for a morning stroll as the sun slowly crept up over the horizon. After sunrise, it was out into the blue water for some cruising as we searched for wildlife. It was not long before we had several bottlenose dolphins riding the bow. As afternoon began, we dropped anchor at Puerto Gato and spent the rest of the day on the beach. While some people glided over the crystal-clear water on kayaks and paddleboards, others chose to get a better vantage point by hiking the nearby peaks. When the desert sun proved to be too warm, there was the chance to cool off with some fish-filled snorkeling. The day ended with sunset over the bay and a fireside barbecue!

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  • Isla Danzante

    The National Geographic Sea Bird observed a spectacular dawn this morning in the channel between Isla Carmen and the Sierra de la Giganta. We visited Isla Danzante after breakfast and enjoyed hiking on the island and snorkeling and kayaking its’ surrounding waters. The afternoon…..well, it was quite special as we were treated to spectacular views of a blue whale, the largest animal to ever have lived on earth. Another great day on the Sea of Cortez.

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  • San Pedro Mártir Island

    San Pedro Mártir Island rises from the waters of the Midriff section of the Gulf of California like a huge, petrified body of a sea monster. Mainly made of volcanic rock, it originated from the mainland of Mexico as a by-product of the northwesterly, tectonic motion of the peninsula of Baja California. Isolated in the middle of the gulf, its visible strata show the long-lasting processes of faulting, folding, and eroding. It also looks white and green! These colors are the sign of great biological activity on its skin: in fact, since the time San Pedro Mártir was “born”, it serves as a nesting place for thousands of seabirds like blue-footed and brown boobies, red-billed tropicbirds, brown pelicans, least and black storm-petrels, murrelets, and shearwaters. They have deposited thousands of tons of guano (their white poop). Cacti grow in great numbers, forming a “cardónal”, or cardón cactus forest, that tints the island with green. It also holds four species of reptiles, including a western diamondback rattlesnake, and has no land mammals except bats. San Pedro Mártir was a powerful attraction for guano mining companies since 1885. The Mexican Phosphate and Sulfur Company extracted and shipped to San Francisco and Europe about a thousand tons of guano each month, for several years. One hundred and thirty eight Yaqui natives, from the mainland of Mexico, worked on the island as miners, accompanied by their families. Our guests saw the traces of that activity as rock walls built at those times. Nowadays, San Pedro Mártir Island is for the people of the world. Our main activity there was to cruise around the magnificent island, looking at the thousands of birds that are already nesting.     

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  • Baja California, Bahia Conception

    What a whale-y day today. We started with a humpback whale swimming along the shoreline of Isla Ildefonso. A small pod of common dolphins were sighted after lunch, as we observed these delightful little cetaceans a call came across the bow, a group, of something different! Up popped a pod of killer whales and the placid common dolphins started churning the waters of the Gulf of California. Through the white foam, you could see dolphin silhouettes and then the breaching of killer whales. The chase was on, and in the end, there was at least one less dolphin.

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  • Isla San Francisco

    This morning a humpback whale surfaced close to the ship, so we changed our plans and went whale watching from the expedition landing craft. Several dozen very active bottlenose dolphins swam among the small boats. We spent the afternoon snorkeling, swimming, kayaking and paddle boarding in the calm, turquoise waters of Half Moon Bay. Just before dinner, we watched a large group of common dolphins feeding and leaping – exhilarating!

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  • Ensenada Grande, Isla Partida/Los Islotes

    We woke up to a beautiful sunrise this morning as we continued south toward Espiritu Santo Archipelago National Park where we would be spending our final full day of this voyage. Our original plan was to snorkel with California sea lions at Los Islotes after breakfast, but instead, the wind and waves sent us seeking calmer waters in the beautiful bay of Ensenada Grande on Isla Partida. We would attempt snorkeling again after lunch.

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  • Islas San José and San Francisco

    We visited two islands on this blustery day. We hiked on Isla San José, and snorkeled and hiked on Isla San Francisco. Beautiful light, stunning vistas, interesting geology, and desert vegetation presented many photo opportunities. Some of us just enjoyed time on the beach.

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  • Los Islotes & Ensenada Grande

    This morning we snorkeled with the playful and curious California sea lions at Los Islotes. We repositioned to the shallow, turquoise waters of Ensenada Grande for kayaking and snorkeling, and for walks up the arroyo.

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  • Cruising, Danzante

    As the stars faded, and the sun started rising in the East, the National Geographic Sea Lion slowed as it entered the wide channel between the city of Loreto and Isla Carmen. The night had brought some stronger winds from the North, and luckily our course was to the South, giving us following seas! The sun rose over Isla Carmen as we made our way Southward to try to find calmer waters for a morning of cruising.

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