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Whales & Wildness: Spring in the Sea of Cortez (NG Venture)

Unique, immersive style of travel
The Sea of Cortez in spring is among the best times and places to see a great variety of whales—humpback, sperm, fin, Bryde’s, and blue whales—plus large aggregations of dolphins. Sail the Sea of Cortez, exploring its many islands free from tourist infrastructure and designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. An expedition of pure discovery, a flexible itinerary means we’re free to follow the seasonal movements of wildlife to optimize sightings.

An itinerary designed to follow the wildlife
We rely on our 35 years of experience in the region and expert local knowledge of wildlife movements to seek out rare encounters with marine mammals. If we see Bryde’s whales in the morning, our scheduled hike will be postponed so we can linger among them, shooting photos from the bow of our ship, or from our expedition landing craft. You’ll discover a stimulating sense of adventure on each day of your expedition.

One of the best places on Earth to see marine mammals
The Sea of Cortez is host to an incredibly diverse population of marine mammals—and we know where to find them. You may see fin, pilot, Bryde’s, sperm, or possibly, even blue whales. Part of the joy of an expedition is standing on deck with binoculars in hand watching for whale spouts—visible from very far on calm days. See the wildlife of Baja & the Sea of Cortez.

Every day is active and engaging
You’ll be able to hike through forests of towering cacti and up striking desert canyons. You’ll take expedition landing craft along the shore to see and shoot photos of plunge-diving pelicans and blue-footed boobies, and you’ll have the option to walk or kayak, and to join a different naturalist as you choose: there are no assigned groups.

Travel in excellent company
Explore under the sure guidance of an expedition leader, six veteran naturalists, including two National Geographic certified photo instructors and an undersea specialist, plus a wellness specialist. Their knowledge and passion for Baja California is the key to your once-in-a-lifetime experience.

12 April, 2020 to 19 April, 2020 Make a booking request for  Whales & Wildness: Spring in the Sea of Cortez (NG Venture), departing on 12 April, 2020

Prices quoted here are often dependent on currency fluctuations. Please check with (01432 507450 or info@small-cruise-ships.com) for the very latest price, which may well be cheaper than the one advertised here.

Category 1 £ 4549 GBP pp
Cat 1 #301-306 Cabins feature two lower single beds that can convert to a Queen, a writing desk and two portholes. Each cabin has individual climate controls, allowing you to adjust the temperature to your liking. Botanically-inspired shampoo, shower gel, and lotion are all available in cabin bathrooms, as well as an Expedition Essential Kit. Hair dryers are also available in each cabin.
view cabin photo
Category 2 £ 4985 GBP pp
Cat 2 #307-315 Cabins feature two lower single beds that can convert to a Queen, a writing desk and two portholes. Each cabin has individual climate controls, allowing you to adjust the temperature to your liking. Botanically-inspired shampoo, shower gel, and lotion are all available in cabin bathrooms, as well as an Expedition Essential Kit. Hair dryers are also available in each cabin.
view cabin photo
Category 3 £ 5335 GBP pp
Cat 3 #201-206 Cabins feature two lower single beds that can convert to a Queen, a writing desk and a large view window. Each cabin has individual climate controls, allowing you to adjust the temperature to your liking. Botanically-inspired shampoo, shower gel, and lotion are all available in cabin bathrooms, as well as an Expedition Essential Kit. Hair dryers are also available in each cabin.
view cabin photo
Category 4 £ 5945 GBP pp
Cat 4 #207-229 Cabins feature two lower single beds that can convert to a Queen, a writing desk, sliding glass door and small, private balcony. Each cabin has individual climate controls, allowing you to adjust the temperature to your liking. Botanically-inspired shampoo, shower gel, and lotion are all available in cabin bathrooms, as well as an Expedition Essential Kit. Hair dryers are also available in each cabin.
view cabin photo
Category 5 Suite £ 6539 GBP pp
Observation Deck #101-108 (Suite) Cabins feature two lower single beds that can convert to a Queen, large view windows, an expanded bathroom, writing desk, ample storage space, and a convertible sofa bed to accommodate a third person. Each cabin has individual climate controls, allowing you to adjust the temperature to your liking. Botanically-inspired shampoo, shower gel, and lotion are all available in cabin bathrooms, as well as an Expedition Essential Kit. Hair dryers are also available in each cabin.
view cabin photo
Category 1 Solo £ 6825 GBP pp
Category 2 Solo £ 7485 GBP pp
13 April, 2020 to 20 April, 2020 Make a booking request for  Whales & Wildness: Spring in the Sea of Cortez (NG Venture), departing on 13 April, 2020

Prices quoted here are often dependent on currency fluctuations. Please check with (01432 507450 or info@small-cruise-ships.com) for the very latest price, which may well be cheaper than the one advertised here.

Category 1 £ 4685 GBP pp
Cat 1 #301-306 Cabins feature two lower single beds that can convert to a Queen, a writing desk and two portholes. Each cabin has individual climate controls, allowing you to adjust the temperature to your liking. Botanically-inspired shampoo, shower gel, and lotion are all available in cabin bathrooms, as well as an Expedition Essential Kit. Hair dryers are also available in each cabin.
view cabin photo
Category 2 £ 5135 GBP pp
Cat 2 #307-315 Cabins feature two lower single beds that can convert to a Queen, a writing desk and two portholes. Each cabin has individual climate controls, allowing you to adjust the temperature to your liking. Botanically-inspired shampoo, shower gel, and lotion are all available in cabin bathrooms, as well as an Expedition Essential Kit. Hair dryers are also available in each cabin.
view cabin photo
Category 3 £ 5489 GBP pp
Cat 3 #201-206 Cabins feature two lower single beds that can convert to a Queen, a writing desk and a large view window. Each cabin has individual climate controls, allowing you to adjust the temperature to your liking. Botanically-inspired shampoo, shower gel, and lotion are all available in cabin bathrooms, as well as an Expedition Essential Kit. Hair dryers are also available in each cabin.
view cabin photo
Category 4 £ 6125 GBP pp
Cat 4 #207-229 Cabins feature two lower single beds that can convert to a Queen, a writing desk, sliding glass door and small, private balcony. Each cabin has individual climate controls, allowing you to adjust the temperature to your liking. Botanically-inspired shampoo, shower gel, and lotion are all available in cabin bathrooms, as well as an Expedition Essential Kit. Hair dryers are also available in each cabin.
view cabin photo
Category 5 Suite £ 6739 GBP pp
Observation Deck #101-108 (Suite) Cabins feature two lower single beds that can convert to a Queen, large view windows, an expanded bathroom, writing desk, ample storage space, and a convertible sofa bed to accommodate a third person. Each cabin has individual climate controls, allowing you to adjust the temperature to your liking. Botanically-inspired shampoo, shower gel, and lotion are all available in cabin bathrooms, as well as an Expedition Essential Kit. Hair dryers are also available in each cabin.
view cabin photo
Category 1 Solo £ 7029 GBP pp
Category 2 Solo £ 7715 GBP pp

Whales & Wildness: Spring in the Sea of Cortez (NG Venture) itinerary:

show reverse itinerary
DAY 1: Home/Loreto/Embark
Fly into Loreto and transfer to National Geographic Venture to set sail on the Sea of Cortez. (D)
DAY 2-7: Exploring the Sea of Cortez
Our routing is designed with flexibility in mind, to maximize opportunities for wildlife sightings. It will most likely include the islands and activities listed below, although the order may vary. (B,L,D daily) Islas San Esteban and San Pedro Mártir: Walk up a desert wash, to search for desert birds and the endemic pinto chuckwalla—a plump, harmless desert lizard. Later visit Isla San Pedro Mártir, a 1,000-foot-high guano-covered island that is home to thousands of seabirds: brown pelicans, magnificent frigatebirds, Brandt’s cormorants and California sea lions. Isla San Marcos: At Isla San Marcos there is a beautiful shoreline for swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking. In the afternoon we are again in rich whale waters, near the mouth of Bahía Concepción where we have excellent possibilities of sighting several species of whales, including fin or sperm. Isla San José: One of the larger islands in the Sea of Cortez, San José offers several landing possibilities depending on conditions and the whim of the moment. Photograph the ochre cliffs of the island’s eastern shore, hike an “enchanted” arroyo, or visit the abandoned salt works to the west. Explore the Sea of Cortez in springtime: among the best times and places in the world to see a great variety of whales, plus dolphins in abundance. With a flexible itinerary, rely on our expert staff to follow the seasonal movements of migrating birds and feeding whales ensuring excellent wildlife sightings. Hike forests of giant cacti, snorkel with sea lions, and discover rare wildlife among desert islands. Bahía Loreto Marine Park: This morning we’ll search for whales in the waters south of Isla Carmen, an area that has proven to be one of the best for finding blue whales, and often bottlenose and common dolphins. In the afternoon we visit one of the islands of Bahía Loreto Marine Park, with ample time for kayaking, snorkeling, stand-up paddleboarding and possibly hiking. In the evening, enjoy a beach barbecue under the desert sky. Los Islotes and Isla San Francisco: At Los Islotes, don flippers, a mask and snorkel (which we’ll gladly provide) and swim with curious sea lions. We have a leisurely afternoon to swim, kayak or hike at Isla San Francisco. Endemic yellow-footed gulls, brown pelicans and blue-footed boobies are all part of the landscape. Finish the day with a relaxing beach barbecue complete with a bonfire and a star-filled sky. (B,L,D)
DAY 8: Disembark/Loreto/Home
Disembark and explore Loreto where we will have the opportunity to visit the first mission in Baja California, as well as the nearby museum to learn more about what makes this town so special. Enjoy free time to explore quaint shops and vibrant side streets. After lunch, transfer to Loreto Airport for flights home. (B,L)
Please Note:
All day-by-day breakdowns are a sampling of the places we intend to visit, conditions permitting.

Whales & Wildness: Spring in the Sea of Cortez (NG Venture) reverse itinerary:

show main itinerary
All day-by-day breakdowns are a sampling of the places we intend to visit, conditions permitting.
Disembark and explore Loreto where we will have the opportunity to visit the first mission in Baja California, as well as the nearby museum to learn more about what makes this town so special. Enjoy free time to explore quaint shops and vibrant side streets. After lunch, transfer to Loreto Airport for flights home. (B,L)
Our routing is designed with flexibility in mind, to maximize opportunities for wildlife sightings. It will most likely include the islands and activities listed below, although the order may vary. (B,L,D daily) Islas San Esteban and San Pedro Mártir: Walk up a desert wash, to search for desert birds and the endemic pinto chuckwalla—a plump, harmless desert lizard. Later visit Isla San Pedro Mártir, a 1,000-foot-high guano-covered island that is home to thousands of seabirds: brown pelicans, magnificent frigatebirds, Brandt’s cormorants and California sea lions. Isla San Marcos: At Isla San Marcos there is a beautiful shoreline for swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking. In the afternoon we are again in rich whale waters, near the mouth of Bahía Concepción where we have excellent possibilities of sighting several species of whales, including fin or sperm. Isla San José: One of the larger islands in the Sea of Cortez, San José offers several landing possibilities depending on conditions and the whim of the moment. Photograph the ochre cliffs of the island’s eastern shore, hike an “enchanted” arroyo, or visit the abandoned salt works to the west. Explore the Sea of Cortez in springtime: among the best times and places in the world to see a great variety of whales, plus dolphins in abundance. With a flexible itinerary, rely on our expert staff to follow the seasonal movements of migrating birds and feeding whales ensuring excellent wildlife sightings. Hike forests of giant cacti, snorkel with sea lions, and discover rare wildlife among desert islands. Bahía Loreto Marine Park: This morning we’ll search for whales in the waters south of Isla Carmen, an area that has proven to be one of the best for finding blue whales, and often bottlenose and common dolphins. In the afternoon we visit one of the islands of Bahía Loreto Marine Park, with ample time for kayaking, snorkeling, stand-up paddleboarding and possibly hiking. In the evening, enjoy a beach barbecue under the desert sky. Los Islotes and Isla San Francisco: At Los Islotes, don flippers, a mask and snorkel (which we’ll gladly provide) and swim with curious sea lions. We have a leisurely afternoon to swim, kayak or hike at Isla San Francisco. Endemic yellow-footed gulls, brown pelicans and blue-footed boobies are all part of the landscape. Finish the day with a relaxing beach barbecue complete with a bonfire and a star-filled sky. (B,L,D)
Fly into Loreto and transfer to National Geographic Venture to set sail on the Sea of Cortez. (D)
* = Indicative
Map for  Whales & Wildness: Spring in the Sea of Cortez (NG Venture)
National Geographic Venture, the ship servicing  Whales & Wildness: Spring in the Sea of Cortez (NG Venture)

National Geographic Venture

Launched 2018

Capacity - 100
Designed with over 50 years of expedition heritage, National Geographic Venture is able to explore the same remote locations as National Geographic have sought out for decades while setting a new standard in comfort and style.  She will follow National Geographic Quest in featuring step-out balconies (available in 22 of the 50 spacious cabins), plus 6 sets of connecting cabins for families and groups; a Sun Deck bar, and a designated mudroom for expedition gear.  

Comfortably accommodating 100 guests, Venture has a shallow draft depth, allowing us to navigate the same inner reaches and provide the same intimate experiences of the charismatic regions we explore. Her twin expedition craft landing platforms allow you to get on and off the ship quickly to take advantage of wildlife sightings and to ensure we maximize our time off the ship exploring. Designed with decades of expedition experience in the region, the purpose-built vessel also features open decks, generous windows, and specialty tools for exploration—the ideal platform for sailing into the fast-moving channels and shallow coves of Alaska and the Pacific Northwest and for exploring the tropical waterways of Central America.

Remotely Operated Vehicle
Capable of reaching 1,000 feet, far beyond the range of any Scuba diver, the ROV allows you to literally view parts of the undersea that are as unexplored as the moon. Chances are you, like many of our guests, will be struck by how surprisingly colorful undersea life is in these unlikely places. And this glimpse may fundamentally change how you view the ocean.

Kayaks
National Geographic Venture is equipped with 24 two-person kayaks—a fleet large enough to ensure everyone who wants to can paddle at every opportunity.

Consequently, prior kayaking experience isn’t necessary—many of our guests have their first kayaking experience in extraordinary locations. Our custom-designed floating platform lets us deploy kayaks from the ship, or any location we want—including far from shore. Kayakers are usually free to explore where they want within boundaries set by the undersea specialist and officer of the watch.

Underwater camera
Our undersea specialist will dive often during your expedition, even in Alaska, with cold-water gear, to shoot high-definition, Cousteau-like footage of the deep. Colorful nudibranchs, swimming, plant-like crinoids, and mysterious fish with antifreeze blood that thrive in the frigid sea will give you an entirely new appreciation of the marine environment.

Video microscope
Naturalists will use the video microscope to help explain all elements of the environment, including tiny organisms that are the building block of the marine ecosystem. Spellbinding live views of krill at 80x magnification fills the high-definition screens in the lounge with vivid detail, and fills every onlooker with a sense of wonder at the importance of otherwise unobservable creatures.

Hydrophone
This underwater microphone is deployed to listen to the vocalizations of marine mammals. Real time transmissions of their eerie, haunting sounds can be broadcast through the ship or recorded for later playback. Few experiences in nature are as captivating as watching humpback whales feed close to the ship as their vocalizations play through the ship’s PA system.

Electronic charts
An electronic chart showing the ship’s location, course, and speed is almost always on display in the lounge.

Open bridge
You’ll find our captains are engaged, knowledgeable members of your expedition who are eager to share their passion with you. Venture’s open bridge features comfortable spaces to sit, enjoy the view, drink your morning coffee, or simply chat with the officers.

Snorkeling gear & wetsuits
On warm weather itineraries where there will be snorkeling, you’ll select a mask, snorkel, fins, and wetsuit that remain yours for the duration of the expedition. There’s no need to pack and tote your own gear, although guests who prefer to are welcome to bring their own.

Cabin layout for National Geographic Venture
• Search for large pods of dolphins and various species of whales—blue, sperm, pilot, fin, humpback, and Bryde’s—all in the same week.

• Explore water-level caves by kayak, hike uninhabited beaches, snorkel among fish and acrobatic sea lions, and see colorful cactus blossoms.

• Visit the old mining town of Santa Rosalia, with its wooden homes and historic steel church, designed by Gustave Eiffel.

• Experience a voyage of pure discovery in a UNESCO World Heritage site, with a flexible itinerary and sites chosen by the region’s most knowledgeable staff, based on conditions and to maximize wildlife sightings.

• Conditions permitting, visit Isla Rasa, where 90% of the world’s Heermann’s gulls and the elegant tern comes to breed.
Enquire now about  Whales & Wildness: Spring in the Sea of Cortez (NG Venture)

Travel on the National Geographic Venture

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