Los Islotes & Isla Espiritu Santo

Apr 20, 2018 - National Geographic Sea Bird

Waking up for the last sunrise of our amazing Baja expedition, the National Geographic Sea Bird arrived at the small, rocky islets of Los Islotes to a welcoming party of California sea lions lazing on the sun-drenched rocks and magnificent frigatebirds soaring overhead. Looking on with excitement at a feeding frenzy of dolphins in the distance and a mother and calf humpback whale pair cruising nearby, we geared up to spend our morning snorkeling with the sea lions. 

With their large, modified flippers and impressive acrobatics, the sea lions certainly stole the show (probably along with some hearts), but it was impossible to look past the rocky reef teeming with life below us. Thanks to protections in place from fishing, the underwater world in this part of the Gulf has been able to restore and replenish naturally without added pressures. The productive waters provide abundant food for each and every species that fills a niche in the ecosystem, from predators to planktivores and all the cryptic critters in between. Los Islotes is a wonderful example of a healthy ocean, and we couldn’t have asked for a better morning to kick off the last day of our expedition. 

Picking up anchor to continue further south, we landed at Isla Espiritu Santo. Loading into the Zodiacs after lunch, we headed ashore to spend our afternoon exploring the beautiful crescent beach of Bahia Bonanza. Countless shells line the shoreline where the turquoise water meets the white sand, while endemic flora and fauna await in the arroyo beyond the dunes berm. With one last beautiful sunset, we settled in for our final captain’s dinner, still in awe from such a spectacular experience in the Gulf of California.

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About the Author

Maya Santangelo

Naturalist/Expedition Diver

Maya was born and raised in Southern California, where her curiosity for the natural world was encouraged from an early age. Relocating to Sydney, Australia with her family at 11 years old, she learned to scuba dive, eventually becoming a PADI Instructor. Her fascination for the underwater world undoubtedly fueled her interest to study marine biology at James Cook University. Working as a professional guide in some of the world’s top dive destinations, including Palau and Mexico’s Guadalupe Island and Revillagigedo Archipelago, Maya realized a passion for sharing her love for the ocean with others, and the value of citizen science in the dive industry.

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