Sea of Cortez - the Aquarium of the World

There have been many times over the years that I wished I had journaled about my favorite travel experiences, if only to reinforce my memories and impressions while they were fresh. Today the effects of globalization are impacting nearly every corner of the planet and my experiences of some of the world's untouched locales are ones I never want to forget.

While it is tough to see some of my favorite destinations changing with crowds, resorts and trinket shops, the positive spin is that many of the world’s most remote spaces are developing more sophisticated infrastructure that is luring more and more travelers to revel in discovery.  As you may be learning, I am a big advocate of devoting some of your valuable time and resources to exploring these wild and untouched lands—better sooner rather than later.  To witness for yourself the joy of walking on new trails, viewing new horizons and experiencing worlds that may be vastly different from the one you normally inhabit.

I just had the pleasure last month of escaping my normal routines into some remote corners of the Sea of Cortez.  A small expedition ship in the fleet of UnCruise Adventures was my home for this 7 night journey.  The young energetic crew that included naturalists and a very talented chef could not have been better hosts.  By day we hiked into arroyos and onto ridgelines, kayaked and paddleboarded into brilliant blue inlets and lagoons, and wandered lovely deserted beaches.  By night we were entertained by good lectures, good conversation and always took a few minutes to stand in awe under a spectacular star-filled night sky.

For those who visit Baja California during the months of January, February and March there is an extraordinary opportunity to spend several precious hours in the company of gray whales who traverse the entire coastline of North America to gather in several special bays along the Pacific Coast.  Here they will gather to breed and to nurture their calves.  These gentle creatures who only decades ago were nearly driven to annihilation by the whaling industry now peacefully tolerate human visitors.  Some of the marine giants even choose to pass by the pangas in such proximity that their gestures seem to invite human touch.  What an amazing interaction between species!

Another highlight of our week was the arrival of the mobula rays to the bay where our ship was anchored.  A number of them joined us during our snorkeling excursion with the sea lions and hundreds more surrounded the vessel, jumping and circling for several hours.  When crew members swamp the decks, cameras in hand, you know the event is both unusual and extraordinary!

Clearly, the week brought some nice surprises, some physical exertion, some yoga, some reading, quiet reflection and wonderful immersion in a natural environment of stark desert vistas and blue ocean waters rich in varied marine life.  All valuable opportunities to be engaged in each changing moment—moment by moment.