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About Special Expeditions

Baja: A Remarkable Journey
Itinerary - 14 Days
This is one of our most exciting and comprehensive voyages to Baja California and the Sea of Cortez. The excitement lies in the possibility of incredible encounters with whales and the flexibility of our itinerary. There will be time for whale watching and to linger with gray whales in their winter nursery lagoons up close at water level from Zodiacs. And there are languid days to explore the treasures of the rich Sea of Cortez, a place with a large variety of whales, seabirds, desert vegetation and some of the world’s most memorable sunsets.

While many of the islands and sites visited on last year’s voyage will likely be revisited, the Captain and expedition leader are also apt to seek out new landing spots and promising locations for snorkeling and kayaking. Our flexible itinerary allows us to take full advantage of the unpredictability of nature and the wildlife we may encounter.
Day 1 - Los Angeles/La Paz, Mexico
Fly to La Paz on our special charter flight, drive across the Baja Peninsula to San Carlos and embark the ship.

Day 2 - Bahia Magdalena
Bahia Magdalena is one of the main breeding and calving areas for the California gray whale. Each winter, the whales make the longest migration of any mammal — moving south from their Arctic feeding grounds to breed and raise their calves in these sheltered waters. During our days in this otherworldly place, we'll have the opportunity to not only observe these enormous yet gentle animals from the ship, but also at water level from our Zodiacs. Because of our experience and knowledge of Baja's waters, we have enjoyed consistent success in achieving "friendly encounters" with gray mother and calf pairs. While we would never presume to predict Nature's behavior, it is highly likely that you will have the privilege of an up-close and personal sighting.

Our whale watching takes place in an exceptional context: Bahia Magdalena is on the Pacific side of Baja, a vast wilderness of sculpted sand dunes, mangrove channels and protected waters. On its western side lies Isla Magdalena or Magdalena Island, a narrow, 60-mile long island comprised of enormous dunes. Although we have seen dunes and beaches before, the particular way these sweeping desert sands meet the shoreline is unforgettable.

Dense mangrove swamps are another, enticing environment. We'll take our kayaks and Zodiacs through the winding canals to discover the riches within. Bird watching in the mangroves can be excellent — magnificent frigatebirds, pelicans, cormorants, terns and great blue herons, ibis, whimbrels and willets are among the species we might see. On mud flats, we'll often see migrating species at rest. Our practiced and observant naturalists will make sure we won't miss any of these world travelers, that can cover up to 8,000 miles of coastline during their migrations. It's not unusual to see forty species of birds in just one day along these fertile shorelines where they refuel for their destinations ahead.

Days 3 & 4 - Laguna San Ignacio
Laguna San Ignacio is a large bay and another favored haunt of the gray whales in Baja. The ship will linger in this remote and important locale, while we observe the mother and calf pairs — from the ship, and from water level in our Zodiacs. For some reason, the whales here seem to be friendlier than they are elsewhere. It’s not unusual for mothers and calves to approach our boats, the calves often playing hide and seek — even wanting to be petted and scratched.

Day 5 - Bahia Magdalena
As we travel south along the Pacific coast of the Baja Peninsula we stop again at Bahia Magdalena. Along the way there is a chance of seeing a wide variety of marine life, including the largest animal of them all, the blue whale. The wonders of the natural world somehow never seem to cease in Baja. But if your preference is to simply relax and take it all in, there’s no more beautiful place since beaches and sand dunes of incomparable beauty, clear water and bright blue skies surround us.

Days 6-13 - Islands of the Sea of Cortez
With a morning stop in the busy town of Cabo San Lucas, we’ll get a brief dose of all the amenities needed to support a major tourist destination — shops, restaurants and entertainments of all sorts. We happily say good bye to that after our brief visit, and head out to spend a blissful seven days exploring the islands of the Sea of Cortez and the remote bays and coves of the Baja Peninsula.

Espiritu Santo. Los Islotes. Santa Catalina. Rasa. These are some of the melodious names of these islands scattered throughout this beautiful sea. After over 20 years of exploration here, we are still discovering new places and experiencing exciting natural events. Here are a few highlights from one of our voyages: one hundred bottlenose dolphins leaping over sperm whales near our ship; a pod of fin whales feeding around a convergence zone; thousands of Heermann’s gulls and royal terns arriving on the shores of Isla Rasa to begin incubating their eggs; and one evening, the vision of hundreds of Humboldt squid illuminated in the ship’s bow lights. The best areas for whale watching remain consistent — the waters south of Isla Carmen, Canal de Ballenas up north, and near the mouth of Bahia Concepcion. Whether on the bridge of the ship, on Zodiacs or kayaks, we will be in prime position to observe them all. Almost every anchorage offers good swimming, snorkeling, and perhaps kayaking.

One morning, you may find yourself aboard a Zodiac, wearing a wetsuit, ready to enter another world — to swim with acrobatic sea lions and through clouds of brilliantly colored fish. Bahia Bonanza is a large bay at the south end of Espiritu Santo with a beach that goes on virtually forever, with the world’s softest sand underfoot. Whether in a kayak or Zodiac, swimming, snorkeling or on a walk with our naturalists, these islands will reveal facets of their beauty and mystery. Exploring them in a small ship that enables us to rove freely in the immense, uncluttered, natural splendor of Baja — to be spontaneous, to move smoothly from ship to Zodiac to landfall and off again — begins to feel like one of the great luxuries in this otherwise crowded, scheduled and regulated world.

Day 14 - Guaymas/Disembark Ship/Hermosillo/Return U.S.
After breakfast aboard the ship, disembark in Guaymas at 8:30 a.m. If you’re flying out of Hermosillo, you’ll leave after breakfast for the two-hour drive to the airport where most flights leave midday. If you’re leaving from Guaymas, the flights are later in the day so we’ll stop at the pearl cultivation farm at the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudies Superiores de Monterrey, learning about the mysterious creation of these objects of beauty. After visiting the Instituto, we’ll drive to the airport in Guaymas for flights to the U.S.

 
Departure Dates & Rates
Departure Dates (see below for family & photo expeditions)
   
2006:  March 25

Photo Expeditions
   
2006:  March 25
Please note if you are traveling on the Sea Lion the program will be one day longer which includes an over night stay in La Paz, Mexico prior to embarkation on March 26, 2006.


 
Sea Bird Per Person Double Occupancy Sole Occupancy
Category 01 $4,390 $5,490
Main Deck #300, 301, 302, 303
Conveniently positioned between the dining room and lounge, these cabins feature twin lower beds, and a large view window.

 
Category 02 $4,980 $6,210
Upper Deck #200-212, 215; Bridge Deck #100-104, 108
These well-located cabins include twin lower beds and a large view window.

 
Category 03 $5,890  
Upper Deck #214, 216-219, 221; Bridge Deck #105, 106, 107, 110
These large cabins feature a seating arrangement with table and two view windows. Certain cabins include twin lower beds. Ask for details.

 
Cost Includes: Accommodations, all meals, Aeromexico charter flight from Los Angeles to La Paz.

Not Included: Return flight from Guaymas or Hermosillo.



 
Sea Bird Deck Plans


 
Baja: A Remarkable Journey Expedition Map
Baja: A Remarkable Journey
Baja: A Remarkable Journey

 

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