What It’s Like/What You’ll Do

What It’s Like/What You’ll Do

How you’ll experience the living sea

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Playful bottlenose dolphins captivate Zodiac-cruising guests of National Geographic Sea Bird on a Baja California expedition.
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Our ships carry complete snorkel gear, so guests can get close to sea lions, colorful reef fish and schools of baitfish in the Sea of Cortez.
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A young gray whale, recently born in the Bahía Magdalena breeding lagoon, greets guests on our Among The Great Whales expedition.
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The camera meets the eye as the desert meets the sea behind a giant barrel cactus on Isla Santa Catalina, in the Sea of Cortez.
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At Isla Espíritu Santo, guests prepare to paddle the fleet of nimble tandem and solo kayaks carried aboard National Geographic Sea Bird.
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A spectacular Pacific sunset provides a magnificent coda to a day of active exploring for Zodiac-cruising guests in the Sea of Cortez.

Your platform for pure discovery, the 62-guest expedition ship National Geographic Sea Bird or National Geographic Sea Lion will be your base for exploring Baja California and the Sea of Cortez. The lounge is a moving window on the world outside, the bow the perfect place for photography, and the expedition landing craft and kayaks are a means to connect you up close with the wild world. Flexibility is a hallmark of our expeditions, and nowhere is this more true than Baja California. Expedition landing craft are dropped to get close to whales, and the captain will change course to keep the ship among a pod of dolphins. The ship will feel like home in no time as you discover all the nooks and crannies—and very welcoming, as the community camaraderie kindles. 

Choice of daily activities
Walk, kayak, and snorkel. Head off for closer looks at pods of dolphins and whales aboard our expedition landing craft. Take a long hike with the wellness specialist if you crave exercise, or choose a short slower walk, with time for your naturalist to share the local medicinal uses of each plant you see. Stay aboard and read if you prefer. Or enjoy a massage from our wellness specialist. There’s no one-size-fits-all scheduling here: you can choose your activities, activity levels, and staff members to join every day.

The best place in the world to see marine mammals
In the Sea of Cortez you’ll discover massive numbers and variety of marine mammals, including dolphins, sea lions, and whales, from blue to fin to Bryde’s and many others. If you choose to venture into the birthing lagoons on the Pacific side of Baja California, you’ll get closer than you ever imagined to the giant, peaceful California gray whales. Just when you think these animals would feel vulnerable or shun our presence, they often approach us for a closer look, as curious of us, as we are of them.

Explore the undersea, too
Our ships carry complete snorkel gear, including wetsuits, so no need to tote gear from home. You’ll have the chance to snorkel several times. You’ll swim with balletic sea lions and see schools of baitfish and colorful reef fish. And everyone can visit the undersea, via video shot by our specialist and shared on the lounge’s high-definition screens during the eveningRecap.

Kayak and expedition landing craft cruise scenic shorelines
Our ships are outfitted with tandem and single kayaks that allow for personal, water-level exploration of the scenic coastlines. Kayak past nesting birds and lounging sea lions, or just enjoy the silence and pleasure of a leisurely paddle. Shoreline cruises aboard expedition landing craft are perfect for relaxed exploration with a naturalist’s narration, and the ideal platform for photography.

Enjoy the daily ritual
Each evening before dinner the entire expedition community gathers in the lounge for an expedition ritual we call Recap. As you enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, various naturalists give talks, the undersea specialist may show video, and your expedition leader will outline the following day’s schedule.

Savor time aboard ship
Wildlife talks and photography instruction will be offered. And when the ship is underway, it’s a wonderful time to stand on the bow with a naturalist or photo instructor and scan the horizon for whale spouts, visit the bridge to share the captain’s view, or go to the sundeck at night for a bit of stargazing.

Be a part of genuine citizen science
Witness research on-board, lead by Dr. William Gilly, Chief Scientist at the Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University, and supported by National Geographic. Watch our crew lower scientific instruments that measure oxygen levels in the Sea of Cortez, with the goal of revealing changes in an ecologically important zone.