Whales & Wildness: Sea of Cortez

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APR. 11-18, 2016 From $5,990
La Paz, Isla San Esteban, Isla San Marcos, Isla Santa Catalina, Isla San Jose
Aboard National Geographic Sea Lion Activity Level: Active Hide This
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Overview

Whales & Wildness: Sea of Cortez

APR. 11-18, 2016
La Paz, Isla San Esteban, Isla San Marcos, Isla Santa Catalina, Isla San Jose
Aboard National Geographic Sea Lion

A rare and incredible gathering occurs in spring in the upper Sea of Cortez. Pods of dolphins form aggregations of thousands of individuals. An incredible variety of whale species come here, as well as huge schools of mobula rays. Join us, as we seek out encounters with these diverse marine tribes, relying on our 35 years of documenting the undersea shelves and channels where they can reliably be found feeding. In addition, we’ll hike islands where the shores teem with a cacophony of seabirds, and kayak into quiet grottos with unearthly echoes. See scores of blue-footed boobies and pelicans. Plus, we’ll stroll the streets of Santa Rosalia, a historic mining town. We’ll also enjoy a beach barbecue, where the campfire’s sparks drift towards the stars, and bask in the splendid solitude of Baja.

Cost: From $5,990
Lindblad Expeditions
Activity Level: Active
COVID-19 Information:
  •  Spring in the Sea of Cortez is the best time to see large pods of dolphins and various species of whales—blue, sperm, pilot, fin, humpback and Bryde’s—all in the same week.
  • Explore water-level caves by kayak, hike uninhabited beaches, snorkel among fish and acrobatic sea lions, and see colorful cactus blossoms.
  • Visit the old mining town of Santa Rosalia, with its wooden homes and historic steel church, designed by Gustave Eiffel.
  • Experience a voyage of pure discovery in a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with a flexible itinerary and sites chosen by the region’s most knowledgeable staff, based on conditions and to maximize wildlife sightings.

 

Download Reservation Form Download Brochure (1.8 MB) Request Brochure In Mail
310.206.0613 (P)
310.209.4271 (F)
travel@alumni.ucla.edu
  • Bravo for Lindblad Expeditions for their policies regarding the environment and conservation and having the most informed naturalists I have ever seen."
    Donald Lipkis ’69

Details

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Itinerary
2016-04-cortez-map.

DAY 1 | April. 11. Home / Los Cabos / La Paz / Embark
Fly into Los Cabos, Mexico and transfer to La Paz, where you embark ship to set sail on the Sea of Cortez. (D) 

DAY 2-7 | April. 12-17. Exploring the Sea of Cortez
Our routing is designed with flexibility in mind to maximize opportunities for wildlife sightings. It will most likely include the islands and activities listed below, although the order may vary. (B, L, D)

ISLAS SAN ESTEBAN AND SAN PEDRO MÁRTIR: Walk up a desert wash to search for desert birds and the endemic pinto chuckwalla—a harmless desert lizard. Later visit Isla San Pedro Mártir, a 1,000-foot-high guano-covered island that is home to thousands of seabirds. Blue-footed boobies, red-billed tropicbirds, pelicans and frigate birds are all found here.

ISLA RASA: In the spring one of the great wildlife spectacles of the Sea of Cortez is in full swing at Isla Rasa —the nesting of thousands of Heermann’s gulls and elegant and royal terns. We will go ashore to meet researchers and observe the behavior of these three species.

ISLA SAN MARCOS: At Isla San Marcos there is a beautiful cove for swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking. In the afternoon we are again in rich whale waters near the mouth of Bahía Concepcion where we stand a good chance of sighting several species of whales, particularly fin or sperm.

ISLA SANTA CATALINA: This morning we’ll search for whales in the waters south of Isla Carmen, an area that has proven to be one of the best for finding blue whales, and often bottlenose and common dolphins. In the afternoon we visit Isla Santa Catalina, famous for its giant barrel cactus and lovely cardon cactus forest. The protected bay of our anchorage is also an excellent site for snorkeling. With a full afternoon here, there is time for swimming, snorkeling, hiking and kayaking.

LOS ISLOTES AND ISLA ESPÍRITU SANTO: At Isla Los Islotes, snorkelers have one of life’s great opportunities—swimming with graceful and curious sea lions. With a deeply indented shoreline and dramatically eroded cliff faces, Isla Espíritu Santo is perhaps the most beautiful island in the Sea of Cortez. We have a leisurely afternoon for swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, and in the evening, a beach barbecue under the desert stars.

DAY 8 | April. 18. Disembark / La Paz / Los Cabos / Home
Disembark in La Paz and transfer to the Los Cabos airport for flights home. (B)

Accommodations
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National Geographic Sea Lion is a tried and true expedition ship that plies the waters from Alaska, to the Columbia and Snake Rivers, to Baja California and the Sea of Cortez. With a shallow draft and small size, she can easily reach places inaccessible to larger ships. She can venture into fast-moving channels where whales come to feed, transit a series of locks in the Pacific Northwest, nose up to waterfalls in secluded coves, and sail into protected anchorages in small bays perfect for snorkeling and kayaking.

Sea Lion accommodates 62 guests in 31 outside cabins. Her inviting public spaces foster a sense of shipboard life where everyone is integral to the adventure, engendering a sense of expedition community. National Geographic writer Andrew Evans called the vessel the “closest thing to Cousteau’s Calypso” he’s ever had the pleasure to be on.

PUBLIC AREAS: Ship features a library; global market; lounge with full-service bar and facilities for films, slide shows, and presentations; observation deck; partially covered sundeck with chairs and tables. Our “open bridge” provides guests an opportunity to meet our officers and captain and learn about navigation.

MEALS: Served in single seatings with unassigned tables for an informal atmosphere and easy mingling. Breakfast is a wide-selection buffet, and lunch is often served family style. Menu emphasizes local flavors.

CABINS: All face outside with windows, private facilities, and climate controls.

EXPEDITION EQUIPMENT: Expedition landing craft, kayaks, snorkeling gear, bow camera, hydrophone, Splash-Cam, underwater video camera, and video microscope.

SPECIAL FEATURES: Guest Internet access. A video chronicler, Lindblad-National Geographic certified photo instructor, and ship’s doctor on board all voyages.

WELLNESS: The vessel is staffed by a wellness specialist and features exercise equipment, LEXspa, and morning stretch classes on the sundeck.

Pricing

Pricing: $5,990-$10,300
Lindblad Expeditions

Download Reservation Form Download Brochure (1.8 MB) Request Brochure In Mail
310.206.0613 (P)
310.209.4271 (F)
travel@alumni.ucla.edu
  • Bravo for Lindblad Expeditions for their policies regarding the environment and conservation and having the most informed naturalists I have ever seen."
    Donald Lipkis ’69

Book this Tour

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How to Book

STEP 1
Download the tour Reservation Form here. This tour is booked quickly, so sign up early to reserve space.

STEP 2
Enclose a check or provide credit card information for $850 per person, per tour, as a deposit for the selected tour. Make check payable to Lindblad Expeditions. Deposits are provisional and fully refundable pending your acceptance of final brochure terms.

STEP 3
Mail completed reservation form and your deposit to:
UCLA Alumni Association
Attn: Alumni Travel
James West Alumni Center
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1397

A brochure will be mailed to you as soon as it is available.

Terms & Conditions

Written cancellations from time of booking up to 90 days prior to departure will be assessed a minimum administrative fee of approximately $250; within 90 days of departure, refunds vary according to the policies of each tour operator. Please read the cancellation clauses contained within the brochure for this tour carefully.

CST 2028271-20

Travel Insurance

We strongly recommend you purchase travel insurance to cover the possibility of trip cancellation or interruption, emergency medical evacuation, medical expenses and baggage loss incurred while traveling. All confirmed passengers will receive travel insurance information in your confirmation packet. It’s one of our many membership benefits! For information about travel insurance, visit alumni.ucla.edu/travel-insurance. Coverage for pre-existing medical conditions, terrorist incidents and travel supplier financial insolvencies will be provided if the insurance is purchased within 15 days of your trip deposit. Please read the insurance brochure carefully.

Download Reservation Form Download Brochure (1.8 MB) Request Brochure In Mail
310.206.0613 (P)
310.209.4271 (F)
travel@alumni.ucla.edu
  • Bravo for Lindblad Expeditions for their policies regarding the environment and conservation and having the most informed naturalists I have ever seen."
    Donald Lipkis ’69