• Fly from London to San Diego, where we transfer to our hotel.
    • Accommodation: Bay Club Hotel, San Diego, 1-night with dinner included.
    • This morning is free to explore San Diego, before boarding our vesssel in the late afternoon. M/V Searcher is a 29 metre boat, perfect for whale watching, with a friendly crew of seven and a captain who has been voyaging in Baja for over 30 years. Our own tour leader will be with the group throughout the tour, together with the ship’s naturalist who will help identify the wildlife and offer an insight into this fascinating area with slide shows, videos and lectures. And finally at the end of each day what better way to spend it on deck, drink in hand, watching some of the most amazing sunsets to be seen anywhere in the world.
    • Accommodation: M/V Searcher, 11-nights on full board basis.
    • We first pass Islas Todos Santos, visiting Islas San Benito with its northern elephant seals and rare Guadalupe fur seals. We may see our first grey whales journeying north to their summer feeding grounds. Our boat has one of the few permits to anchor in the vast, almost land-locked, San Ignacio Lagoon, where we will make excursions on the lagoon in skiffs, or pangas, as we wait for the whales to approach us. We should encounter good numbers of these superb animals, some with young at this time of year. With luck some may come so close they will rub up against the side of the skiffs. A truly memorable and moving experience! At night the desert skies are filled with stars, we may hear coyotes howl, and when we leave we may see blue and humpback whales plus Pacific white-sided dolphins offshore, feeding in the nutrient rich waters.
    • Travelling south past Magdalena Bay our cruise takes us round the tip of Baja at Cabo San Lucas where magnificent frigatebirds fill the skies and Californian sea lions and Brandt’s cormorants perch on the rocks below. It is offshore where we hope to encounter spectacular humpback whales, as they come here to sing and mate.
    • Sailing north into the more secluded and tropical waters of the Sea of Cortez we will look out for the world’s largest animal – the magnificent blue whale. This is a favourite nursery ground for blue whale mothers and hopefully we may spot some with calves. This is one of the world’s whale watching hotspots and as we sail these waters we will look out for fin, sperm, dwarf sperm, minke, Bryde’s and short-finned pilot whales, all of which occur in this area. Bottlenose, short-beaked and long-beaked common dolphins are common and often appear in pods of hundreds, some frequently riding the bow waves. Orcas are also often seen.
    • There is also a great variety of seabirds to delight the birdwatcher on this trip, and each day we will typically visit a remote peninsula landing spot or one of the beautiful islands to find a wealth of species.
    • For those who like to swim and snorkel there is the possibility of swimming with playful Californian sealions and hundreds of colourful fish to be seen. From the boat we will hopefully see hammerhead sharks, leaping mobula rays, flying fish and turtles.
    • Whether it is for the pods of dolphins escorting the boat, whales with calves, feeding or breaching, flocks of seabirds, shoals of colourful fish or snorkelling with sea lions, this cruise is a must for those who love to experience a rich diversity of wildlife at its best.
    • We are scheduled to arrive in Cabo San Lucas, by early morning, then after disembarkation and clearance of Mexican customs, it will be time to transfer to the airport to catch the flight to London.
  1. Day 14 Arrive UK

All prices are per person and include:

  • Services of the naturalist leader
  • Flights
  • Transfers (except on arrival in San Diego)
  • Accommodation
  • Meals on board Searcher vessel
  • Guided activities

Accommodation

We spend one night in a hotel in San Diego, then our accommodation for the remaining 11 nights of the tour will be onboard our boat, M/V Searcher.

Built in 1970 and 29 metres in length, the Searcher is a US Coast Guard SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) and FCC (Federal Communications Commission) inspected and certified vessel. Up to 28 passengers can be accommodated, in fourteen air-conditioned cabins, each with a freshwater washbasin, AC US-style electrical outlets, reading lights and a mirror. Cabins are small but adequate and each has sleeping bunks and gear storage.  There are four bathrooms on the main deck, two with showers and two located near the observation deck in the stern.

Wildlife observation decks can be found on the stern and bow, and on the upper deck in front of the wheelhouse. The Searcher carries two 475-horsepower Caterpillar diesel engines, two 60-kilowatt generators, and state-of-the-art electronics including GPS navigation and a satellite telephone. She carries 1,500 gallons of fresh water and the ability to make fresh water during travel. Three aluminium skiffs are carried for shore excursions and wildlife viewing.

Meals

All main meals are included.

Birds

There is a huge variety of seabirds to see on this trip – shearwaters, terns, small members of the auk family, such as Craveri’s murrelet, a host of gulls, yellow-footed, and Heermann’s often fly alongside the boat, osprey, waders, herons and egrets. When on land we will look for red-tailed hawk, turkey vulture and maybe see the endemic Xantus’ hummingbird, as well as smaller desert specialists including rock wren.

  • Brandt’s cormorants
  • short-tailed shearwater
  • Royal tern
  • Crested caracara

Mammals

Our tour takes us to a marine wilderness, often known as the Mexican Galapagos. Here is an incredible diversity of marine life, amongst which we may see, short-beaked, and long-beaked common dolphins, loggerhead turtles, northern elephant seals, Californian sealion and whales. Blue, humpback, fin, gray, sperm, and short-finned pilot whales and possibly orca – this is the place to see whales and dolphins in numbers at this time of year.

  • Guadalupe fur seal
  • Blue whale
  • Pacific white-sided dolphin
  • Dwarf sperm whale

Scenery

We take a 644 kilometre voyage around the tip of Baja California, a rugged desert peninsula of more than 1,288 kilometres in length. Each day we will typically visit a remote landing spot or one of the beautiful, remote islands.

Walking

Walks are on the islands that we visit during the cruise, and are mostly easy.

Flights

Price includes return scheduled flights London – San Diego / Los Cabos – London.

Ground transport

Ground transport is by taxis.

  1. April 2016
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