Louis Tran, Norma Estrada Acuña, Kyle Bowman and Octavio Maravilla
02 Jan 2023
Kelly’s Beach (San José Island), 1/2/2023, National Geographic Venture
National Geographic Venture
This second day of the new year marks our last day of adventures in the Gulf of California aboard NationalGeographic Venture. We spent the morning at Kelly’s Beach on Isla San José. In the afternoon, we cruised to search for charismatic megafauna on our way north to Puerto Escondido, Baja California Sur.
During our afternoon of cruising for wildlife, we were treated to sightings of both blue and fin whales.
Octavio was born in Mexico City and moved to La Paz at age 19, to study Marine Biology at the Baja California Sur State University. He began his field research on California sea lions, working at Los Islotes, a small rookery close to La Paz City. Lat...
We sailed to the northernmost area of our voyage, the Espiritu Santo Archipelago, home of one of the most important California sea lion reproduction colonies in the south of the Gulf of California. It was declared a National Park by presidential decree in 2007, and it is more than 48,000 square hectares long. Guests and staff snorkeled in crystal clear waters with dozens of juvenile sea lions. We admired diverse schools of tropical fish and cruised around fascinating rock formations. Once back aboard, we encountered a few blue whales on our way to Puerto Escondido, Loreto as we prepared for a farewell dinner and for disembarkation tomorrow morning.
National Geographic Venture cruised south throughout the night, reaching the vicinity of Isla del Carmen by sunrise. It was another beautiful morning as we searched for marine life from the decks and enjoyed a nice brunch on board. We were delighted by great views of a humpback whale. In the afternoon, there was much activity at Puerto Los Gatos on the Baja California peninsula. Guests had opportunities for snorkeling, kayaking, standup paddleboarding, exploring the landscape, and/or relaxing on the beach. A delicious beach barbecue ensued, followed by s’mores, stargazing, night photography, searching for scorpions, and gathering around the bonfire.
We began our day with a stretch class in the early morning light, followed by a delicious breakfast. We then grabbed our backpacks and cameras and headed to beautiful Isla San Marcos. The landing is a picturesque beach covered in shells and surrounded by mountains carved by an arroyo. We split into aerobic, moderate, and casual hiking groups and headed into the arroyo canyon. As we moved farther up the arroyo, the walls grew steeper and closer together, creating a beautiful, shady slot canyon. We got plenty of exercise as we observed several types of cacti, lizards, nests, and birds under a canopy of many desert legumes. We returned to National Geographic Venture for lunch and cruised over to the town of Santa Rosalia on the Baja peninsula. Vestiges of the past strew this historic copper mining town, making for a very interesting landscape of colorful Mexican village life and rusty industrial equipment. We walked through town to visit the church built by Frenchman Gustave Eiffel and an old bakery that has been operating for many decades. We made our way to the Hotel Frances for happy hour with local music group Los Coyotes. We enjoyed cocktails, snacks, and sweeping views of the Sea of Cortez. We returned to the ship for Mexican fiesta night and more music and dancing with Los Coyotes. It was an unforgettable day on National Geographic Venture .