National Geographic Venture navigated overnight to reach the small island called San Francisco. We spent the whole day engaged in diverse activities. The ship dropped anchor early in the morning at Half Moon Bay, one of the most beautiful coves in the entire region. The fantastic red light of the sunrise covered the high and rugged cliffs of La Giganta, a mountain range on the peninsula of Baja California.

During the morning and afternoon, our guests enjoyed kayaking, hiking, and snorkeling. The kayaking took guests around the bay, allowing them to admire the beautiful emerald-colored waters and the reddish volcanic rocks of the surrounding cliffs. On land, hikers walked on the salt flats. They learned how and why El Pardito’s local population created these amazing pools to obtain pure salt from the evaporation of seawater. A dead Pacific ridley, a sea turtle, was observed on the rim of the salt flats. The turtle probably met its fate naturally.

Our guests also observed the island’s desert vegetation. The old man cactus, the nipple cactus, and the jojoba attracted much attention. Right by the hills, our naturalist explained the boundary between the salt flats and dunes, the Sonoran Desert vegetation, and the characteristics of these two basically different ecosystems that meet on the island. We also enjoyed hikes to a fabulous rim on the southeastern hills of the island, which allowed us to see the entirety of Half Moon Bay from a good height. Snorkelers went to a rocky place to observe several beautiful creatures.