During the night we traveled farther northward into the upper Gulf of California. By early morning we reached the region known as the Midriff Islands where we anchored near Isla San Esteban. As the eastern horizon brightened beneath a waning night sky, the earliest risers headed ashore for sunrise. Once on shore, some people chose to stroll in the quiet of the desert arroyo, enjoying the first songs of waking birds. Others of us ascended a low ridge to watch and photograph the sunrise beyond the arcing silhouettes of majestic cardon cactus.  

After breakfast we returned again to shore to further explore the desert. Inland, up the broad arroyo, we found a variety of desert birds. There were many huge cardon cacti, and some of these were in flower. We also found flowers on many cholla cacti, and delicate pinkish blooms on the endemic hedgehog cactus. After some searching, we eventually found several of the large, endemic spiny-tailed iguanas that inhabit this island. A few lucky people also found the endemic pinto chuckwalla lizard, reaching up to two feet in length.  

By midday the wind had picked up considerably from the north, and we had to abandon our plans of continuing further in that direction. We turned south with a quite comfortable following sea. In the late afternoon we reached Isla San Pedro Mártir. We launched our fleet of expedition landing craft to explore the near-shore waters of this most remote island in the Sea of Cortez.  

San Pedro Mártir is volcanic in origin, yet appears largely white (and peppered with cactus) from the accumulated guano that has been deposited by its myriad feathered inhabitants. Until the early 1900s the island was a major site of guano harvesting in the Gulf of California. It is now a preserve, protecting the blue-footed boobies, brown boobies, red-billed tropicbirds, brown pelicans, and other seabirds that nest there. During both outings, we were delighted by the animated leaps and curiosity of many young, rambunctious, California sea lions that bobbed in the waters around our small boats.