Daily Expedition Reports

Daily reports from our days in the field

  • Los Islotes and Espiritu Santo National Park

    The architypical experience of Espiritu Santo National Park, and perhaps all of the Sea of Cortez, is to get in the water and snorkel with the charming and graceful California sea lions. It was for just this purpose that National Geographic Venture arrived at Los Islotes this morning.

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  • Puerto Gato, Baja California Sur

    The moon’s fullness peaked just after 5 this morning, casting its rays upon the early risers of National Geographic Venture. Guests of all ages gathered in the pre-dawn light to witness “la luna” slip behind the western Baja terrain. What a beautiful way to start our day!

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  • Loreto Bay National Park

    Sunrise found us transiting across the northern boundary of the Loreto Bay National Park. Established in 1995 by the government of Mexico, the park protects five of the most precious islands occupying the Sea of Cortez: Monserrate, Danzante, Santa Catalina, Coronados, and Carmen. The waters around them are also part of these parks, and we spent the morning sailing through a good portion of the area. Once inside, we had the pleasure to witness not just the sunrise over the ocean but one that showed the elusive and ever-mythic green flash!

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  • Bahia Concepcion

    The climate in the Gulf of California is unpredictable during the winter-spring transition, since it sits at the confluence of three different wind systems between the west, north, and south. Today, the wind began from the north and made National Geographic Venture locate to one of the most idyllic bays in this sea: Bahia Concepcion – south of the copper mining town of Santa Rosalia and north of the historic California capital of Loreto. The historical flavor of the early exploration and colonization of this peninsula, respectively, by Spanish Conquistadores and Jesuit missionaries blew through the winds and across the landscape.

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  • Isla San Marcos

    A leisurely morning aboard National Geographic Venture allowed guests to enjoy this pleasant day out on the decks as well as presentations about the distinct geography and wildlife that makes Baja California such a beloved destination for those visiting.

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  • Isla Danzante

    Today was our first full day exploring Baja California. In the morning we sailed the calm waters just south of Isla del Carmen and ultimately made our way to the tiny island of Danzante. Here we were introduced to the intersection where desert meets the sea. We snorkeled from an intimate white sandy beach and hiked among the vibrant and diverse flora that calls this island home.

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  • Cruising and Isla San Francisco

    For the final day of this incredible voyage we consigned ourselves to doing only our favorite expedition pastimes. In the morning, we enjoyed the spectacular Baja California wildlife with numerous blue whale sightings. The afternoon was had doing as much or as little as desired at the postcard-perfect Half Moon Beach. We all came together and enjoyed our final group slideshow in the evening, reflecting afterward on everything we have seen and done over the course of our memorable and moving voyage.

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  • At Sea and Bahía Concepción

    A leisurely morning included presentations and a group of pilot whales as we cruised south in the Sea of Cortez. During lunch, National Geographic Venture anchored in Conception Bay, a deep indentation beside the Baja California Peninsula. In the afternoon we had the opportunity to snorkel around several islets and cruise by Zodiac along the scenic shoreline. A variety of fish, birds, and a small group of bottlenose dolphins were spotted over the course of the afternoon. A rich diversity of plant life grows on the islets and on the adjacent peninsula, including several species of cacti.

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  • Isla San Esteban and Isla Rasa

    Today we explored two very special islands in the midriff region of the Gulf of California. On Isla San Esteban, we walked up arroyos hoping to find the island’s two endemic reptiles: the San Esteban spiny-tailed iguana and the pinto chuckwalla. In the afternoon, we spent a magical hour cruising among an enormous group of long-beaked common dolphins. The ship matched their speed, and we watched from the bow as the dolphins swam energetically all around us. It was an exhilarating and utterly beautiful experience. In the late afternoon, we had Zodiac cruises around Isla Rasa, where thousands of Hermann’s gulls and elegant terns have recently arrived to nest.

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  • Canal de Ballenas

    National Geographic Venture traveled north throughout the night. By morning, the sun’s first rays found her sailing in the Gulf of California’s midriff region, in a deep-water channel known as the Canal de Ballenas. Situated between the Baja peninsula and Ángel de la Guarda Island, this channel brings in some of the largest seawater flows in this area. Resulting from this is an upwelling of tidal current brings key nutrients to the surface, from which come plankton blooms.

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