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Journal Entries for 2015-02 Baja Expedition-Family (Dana)

Summary: We boarded the National Geographic Sea Bird in La Paz.

Saturday, Feb 21st: We were picked up at 10:45am by a new driver ($140) for the trip to LAX. We met up with Dana and Marcia at the airport. They had spent the night in the nearby hotel after flying from Atlanta the day before. It was good to see them again. We also met several of our fellow NatGeo travelers. Our flight was at 2:12pm and we landed in La Paz on time at 5:30pm (Mountain Time). We had only carry-on bags, so we didn't have to wait for luggage.

NatGeo personnel met us in La Paz. We were given a box lunch as we boarded our bus and our caravan of two busses drove northwest across the Baja California Peninsula to Puerto San Carlos, from which the agricultural production of the Magdalena Plain, as well as fish from the rich offshore waters, are exported worldwide. It was about a 3-1/2-hour drive with part of the roadway being a dirt road (they were in the process of repaving). It was a long drive, but we finally arrived at San Carlos about 10:30pm. We were signed in and finally embarked on the National Geographic Sea Bird.

We had a short briefing in the lounge while we waited for our luggage to be brought aboard to our cabin. The staff consisted of Jim (Expedition Leader); Adrian, Bette Lu & William (Naturalists); Linda (Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor); Alberto (Undersea Specialist); Michelle (Wellness Specialist); Sarah (Video Chronicler); and Jo (Ship's Physician). The NG Sea Bird is the smallest ship we've been on, only 30 cabins. Our cabin was small, but had everything we needed. Dana and Marcia were in Cabin #215 and we were next door in Cabin #217. None of the cabins had balconies. Our cabin was slightly larger with a king bed and a desk area.

Once all luggage and passengers were aboard, we sailed a short distance across Bahia Magdalena to Isla Magdalena and anchored for the night. The great Bahia Magdalena is not only the gate entrance to the Pacific, it is also a unique universe where men who are dedicated to exploit sea species live nomadically with their diverse habitat. It is a natural reserve of gray whales that arrive to its waters to fulfill their biological cycle during the months of January to March. The bay is 31 miles long and the Islands of Magdalena and Margarita contribute with the counter coastline that protects it from the strong waves, which characterize the Pacific Ocean. The elongated form and low altitude of the islands, shaped almost totally by white sand dunes, permits enjoyment simultaneously the inside and outside ocean view from some of its points. A very beautiful coastline offers plenty of beaches, inlets, marshes and mangrove swamps that are the sanctuary of resident and migratory sea birds and its waters are rich in species for commercial and sports fishing. San Carlos has a big power plant and the most important seaport in Baja California Sur. It is the outlet to agricultural production of Valle de Santo Domingo. Cargo ships, tourist cruisers, yachts and fishing boats can be observed in the port activities.

It was about midnight when we finally went to bed. Sometimes it takes a while to get to an out of the way place. But it was all worth it!!

0001-Map of Baja.jpg

0006-Briefing in lounge, Sea Bird, Isla Magdalena.JPG

0007-Our cabin, #217, Sea Bird.JPG

0008-Our cabin, #217, Sea Bird.JPG

0009-Dana & Marcia's cabin, #215, Sea Bird.JPG

0011-Map San Carlos to Isla Magdalena.JPG
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