Daily Expedition Reports

Daily reports from our days in the field


  • Isla San Marcos, Sea of Cortez

    Pre-dawn light found staff and guests waiting on the bow of National Geographic Venture in hopes of catching a green-flash sunrise over the Sea of Cortez that morning. As the eastern sky changed from the cooler colors of blue and violet to the warmer yellows and reds, the sun finally crested horizon. No green flash, but cameras clicked and whirred, pointed toward the horizon, as brown pelicans, blue-footed boobies, and magnificent frigatebirds soared above.

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  • Bahia Almejas & Santa Margarita Island

    Our voyage among great whales commenced today with an exploration of the southernmost section of the Magdalena Bay Complex called Bahia Almejas (Clams Bay). National Geographic Sea Bird anchored close to Cresciente Island (Crescent Island) which marks the southern limit of Bahia Almejas. Half of our guests and naturalists got on pangas, multi-purpose fiberglass boats, with local permit holders for the first whale watching activities. We spotted whales breaching, spy-hopping, and performing other types of behavior. The other half of our guests went to explore the shores and arroyos of Margarita Island where they discovered many interesting things. Then the groups switched. It was our first foray into the Sonoran Desert environment, and we captured excellent pictures that spoke of some of those wonders. In the afternoon, our cetacean specialist delighted us with a slideshow on gray whales.

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  • Lopez Mateos, Magdelena Bay

    Baja at dawn is what northerners dream of this time of year. A warm breeze purled across the deck as dawn let off from midmorning pink to pastel blue of the afternoon sky. Reflections on the water drive most to their cameras: This is how our day began.

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  • Cruising around Carmen Island

    Today we spent our first full day together as we transited around the peninsula of Baja California—and it could not have played out better. We woke as National Geographic Venture sailed the waters between Montserrat and Carmen islands, inside the Loreto Bay National Park. Loreto Bay is one of the jewels of Mexico’s Natural Protected Areas. Created in 1995, the park protects five islands and surrounding waters, and is home to a great diversity of marine mammals.

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  • Hull Canal, Baja California

    It was a foggy morning in the Hull Canal. National Geographic Sea Bird was surrounded by mist and whales as the sun rose over the Baja California peninsula. Guests headed out early to watch gray whales, and they saw several adult whales putting on a show of spy-hopping and lazy swimming. In the afternoon, our ship navigated the narrow canal and made it to Sand Dollar Beach for sunset. Our day ended with hikes through the sand dunes and a beach BBQ.

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  • Isla Los Islotes

    A soft pink cloud arched across the sky, announcing the new dawn while the waves below broke gently into white-topped swells. In short, an exceptional start of our day as we head northwest on our voyage toward Isla Los Islotes.

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  • Magdalena Bay

    The landscapes of Magdalena Bay slowly and subtly shifted as we made our way from Almejas, through the Hull Canal, toward the northern limit of the bay. Open ocean gave way to coastal mangroves intertwined with towering sand dunes. The bay itself also changed, transitioning from deep, turbulent waters to shallow lagoons. For us, this meant more opportunities to observe the gray whale mother-and-calf pairings that call this bay home for the winter. We took advantage of this unique opportunity to watch these whales before they swim north. We spent the entire day whale watching from our expedition landing crafts. We saw calves playfully interacting with their mothers, spy-hopping whales—even a full breaching. All this before a dramatic sunset behind the dunes.

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  • Bahia Magdalena and Mission San Javier

    The wind was blowing all through the night and today across the Sea of Cortez, though this did not stop us from exploring between the east and west coast of the Baja Peninsula. The group that opted for the west boarded a nine-car caravan this morning, which took Mexico Highway 1 over the extraordinarily scenic central Baja mountains.

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  • El Burel and Hull Canal

    What a spectacular day today it was to be aboard National Geographic Sea Bird! Guests woke to a misty fog surrounding the ship, reminding us just how close we are to the Pacific Ocean on this expedition. Once the fog lessened, kayaks and Zodiacs were deployed for a voyage through a local mangrove forest.

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  • Isla San Francisco

    Following last night’s passage through the Sea of Cortez, National Geographic Venture arrived at Isla San Francisco just before breakfast. We had the good fortune not long thereafter with blue whale that surprised us just as we were making our turn toward the anchorage for the day! The mighty creature gave us a few good looks and turns, but soon disappeared. It was thus time for the ship to anchor and begin day’s activities of kayaking, paddle boarding, hiking, and snorkeling. As far as ventures in Baja California are concerned, this day was full and equally satisfying.

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