Daily Expedition Reports

Daily reports from our days in the field

  • Lopez Mateos & Boca de Soledad

    We awoke this morning alongside the dock in San Carlos on the northern bank of Magdalena Bay. Buses awaited to drive us to Lopez Mateos where we could board local pangas – small fiberglass boats that offer excellent views. The pangas would take us along Hull Canal to Boca de Soledad, a narrow inlet to Magdalena Bay where gray whales use these calm waters for their breeding and calving grounds.

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  • Sand Dollar Beach, Baja California Sur

    Baja California is truly proving itself to be one of the most magical places on the planet. Waking up this morning, National Geographic Venture was sailing north in the Pacific Ocean, offshore of the Baja peninsula. Having entered the open ocean for the first time in this trip, we were hoping to see some animals that are not always found in the Sea of Cortez. We were not disappointed! Bottlenose dolphins joined the ship as the sun rose, surfing along in the pressure wave created by the ship’s bulbous bow. During breakfast, rafts of about 100 California sea lions raced over to play in our wake, and two humpback whales even swam and twirled off of our stern, giving guests a show through the panoramic windows in the dining room. Throughout the morning there were sightings of many new seabirds [pink-footed and black-vented shearwaters, western and California gulls] and cetaceans [Pacific white-sided dolphins] as we made our way towards the entrance to Magdalena Bay.

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  • Cabo Pulmo and the Cape Region

    This morning National Geographic Venture anchored just outside of Cabo Pulmo National Park, located in the southeastern portion of the cape region at the end of the Baja California Peninsula. The story of Cabo Pulmo is one of conservation success, and tremendously inspiring. It all started when a small group of families who lived there realized that the number of fish that they were catching continue to diminish over time and, in an extremely bold and unprecedented maneuver, decided to stop fishing. With the help of members of the scientific community of La Paz they convinced the Mexican government to declare the area a National Park. They had a hard time at the beginning, trying to make a living doing all kinds of jobs in the neighboring Cabo San Lucas or San Jose del Cabo, but they kept their word, did not catch any more fish and made sure than nobody else did. In the meantime, nature kept her course showing that if we let her rest, she can recover. Scientists monitoring the recovery of fish populations shocked the conservation world when they published their results showing that Cabo Pulmo experienced the biggest rebound of fish biomass of any marine reserve in the planet, after a decade and a half of real protection.

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  • Los Islotes and La Paz, Baja California Sur

    Sailing south overnight on National Geographic Venture, on the calm waters of the Sea of Cortez, we arrived at a California sea lion haul out site on the rocky outcrops of Los Islotes for an early morning snorkel excursion. We spent the afternoon and evening at the delightful seaport of La Paz with time to explore the lively streets before enjoying a celebration of Mexican cultural performances with dinner served on the Malecon at sunset.

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  • Agua Verde

    One of the many notable features of Baja and the Gulf of California are the sunrises. This morning, rays of light burst through the clouds painting the sea pink and the sky orange. We stood on the bow in awe, taking photos and taking in the majesty of the morning. Blue-footed boobies and other seabirds darted in front of the bow as we appro

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  • Puerto Los Gatos

    On the morning of Thursday, National Geographic Venture navigated into Puerto los Gatos, a large bay in the Sea of Cortez. Here, guests would spend their day snorkeling, swimming, hiking, or beachcombing in the beautiful Baja sun.

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  • Sierra de la Gigantes & Agua Verde

    As the sun broke over Sierra de la Gigantes, National Geographic Venture pulled into the bay at Agua Verde. As soon as the Zodiacs were in the water everyone began the day’s adventures. There was kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and hiking. After lunch there was a chance to look below the waves as everyone snorkeled. After a fun filled day we watched the as the sun set on Agua Verde, and took Zodiac tours to explore the bay one last time.

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  • La Paz, Mexico

    Today was the first day of our expedition. With the help of one of our favorite local La Paz vendors, we had an incredible experience here in the Sea of Cortez. We joined FunBaja on two of their vessels and went to a sea lion rookery to go snorkeling for the first time! Along the way, we stopped at a tiny island inhabited entirely of sea birds.  After our adventure with FunBaja, we boarded National Geographic Venture and set sail to watch for marine life as we head to our next destination, eager to see what is in store for us tomorrow.

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  • Isla San Francisco

    Understandably, Baja is known for its sunrises, and today did not disappoint. Just before the sun crested the horizon, the mountains of the Baja peninsula were painted with a rosy-pink glow. As we began taking in this epic and beautiful sight, we spotted three bottlenose dolphins swimming towards National Geographic Venture. Occasionally these playful marine mammals will ride on the pressure wave created by the bow of our ship, and we were lucky enough that these three individuals put on a morning show for us. It was a wonderful start to a day full of adventure and beauty.

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  • San Evaristo and Isla San Jose

    A slight breeze greeted those of us on the bow of National Geographic Venture as we watched the sky glow with color as the sun rose above the horizon. Gulls and frigate birds soared overhead, and brown pelicans could be seen on shore. After gathering our snorkel gear, we headed to a protected bay and explored, viewing the world below us. We were fascinated by the wide variety of undersea creatures among the rocks and the coral. Brown urchins dotted the rocks, slate pencil urchins wedged into crevices, and venomous flower urchins collected shells. Among the coral, a few worm snails were spotted as they sent out their mucous webs in search of a meal. Some of the unique creatures spotted underwater were an octopus, a bullseye ray, and a brave eared grebe who dove underwater and approached our masks. All the while, the fish swam in and out of rock hideouts and coral.

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