Shedd Adventures 2014

Baja (March 1 to 8)

Whales and Other Wonders
I invite you to dive in and spend a week with me among whales, dolphins, sea lions, manta rays and more incredible marine life in the coastal waters of Baja California. We’ll explore by sea—snorkeling, kayaking and cruising aboard our luxury vessel—and by land, hiking desert islands and the peninsula itself. You’ll have opportunities to swim with sea lion pups, hike in a cactus forest and explore by burro to experience the “real Baja”!
—Tim Binder, vice president, collection planning

Download the journey brochure for full details (PDF).

Itinerary
Saturday, March 1
You’ll be whisked from the Los Cabos airport to the Safari Voyager in time for a cocktail and dinner with your fellow adventurers.

Sunday, March 2
Kick off your week’s adventure at Gordo Banks, an underwater mountain, or seamount, located five miles off Baja’s southern tip. All kinds of sea life— humpback whales, mobula and manta rays, tuna, dolphins and hammerhead sharks—are known to frequent this important marine habitat.

Monday, March 3
Sailing through islands once pillaged by conquistadors for black pearls, we arrive at the white sand beach at Isla San Francisco’s aptly named Half Moon Bay. You’ll snorkel along barnacled rocks, kayak amid hues of blue, and take an interpretive walk to the salt chuck or a more strenuous guided hike along a desert rim for spectacular panoramic views. There’s even the possibility of a magical post-dinner swim in a bay filled with stunning luminescence.

Tuesday, March 4
Our destination is Isla Santa Catalina, ideal for bird watching and seeking endemic wildlife. A guided hike takes you into a forest of the world’s tallest cactus—the giant cardón. At Bahía Agua Verde, enjoy clear waters bordered by sparse craggy mountains hemmed in green. We’ll explore the coast by small skiff, visit with a local ranchero and his family, and take to the canyons and mountains on a burro ride to experience the “real Baja.”

Wednesday, March 5
When the gray whales have arrived near Bahía Magdalena—where they’re known to migrate and calf—we’ll dock in Puerto Escondido, then head across the peninsula to ride in a panga and observe them in the lagoon. With binoculars in hand, keep your eyes peeled this afternoon for pods of dolphins, blue, fin, sei, orca and sperm whales as they spout and dive in the surrounding waters. Blue-footed boobies, brown pelicans, cormorants and gulls also make this area their home. Weather permitting, we’ll have music and storytelling around a sunset bonfire.

Thursday, March 6
After brunch, we cruise to a hidden cove straight out of a movie set, anchor and paddle to shore. There are plenty of options today—kayaking, paddle boarding, snorkeling and beachcombing, or a guided hike into a sandy inland valley, perfect for identifying animal tracks. Explore nature’s diversity and learn about the geologic forces that formed the islands.

Friday, March 7
At Los Islotes, a steep outcropping rising straight from the sea, you can observe a sea lion colony from the boat and skiff, or slip into a wetsuit for a pre-breakfast snorkel with agile young sea lions. Swim through a rock arch where orange fan and white fire corals sway in the current and high overhead, sea birds perch on the cliffs. Then we’ll set sail for Ensenada Grande for your last day of water play. After tonight’s farewell dinner, your expedition leader will recap the journey with a slideshow.

Saturday, March 8
Back in San Jose del Cabo, it’s “adios.” After breakfast, transfer to the Los Cabos airport is provided.

Due to the nature of our explorations, itineraries are guidelines and will change in order to maximize wildlife and natural encounters. Variations in itinerary and the order of days may occur.

Meet Tim Binder, your Shedd Aquarium guide
Tim Binder, Shedd’s vice president of collection planning, is well acquainted with a variety of marine mammals, through his experiences at aquariums and his fieldwork in the wild. He has been a certified diver for 35 years, and his underwater adventures include the Great Barrier Reef and the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef off Belize, as well as shipwrecks and reef ecosystems around the world. A globetrotting scientist, Tim is also a seasoned trip leader who will have a wealth of fascinating natural history to share with us.

Your Journey Includes
• Customized pre-departure documentation
• Port fees and taxes
• Entry fees to national parks/preserves
• All from-the-boat adventures
• Activities and equipment, yoga classes, hot tub, sauna and complimentary massage
• Double-occupancy accommodations
• Meals as stated in the itinerary and all beverages on board including premium wine, spirits and beer
• The services of Un-Cruise tour leader
• The services of Shedd guide Tim Binder
• Airport to ship transfers on day of embarkation and disembarkation
• 1 complimentary Sponsor level Shedd Aquarium membership per household

Not included
• Airfare to Los Cabos, Mexico
• Passport fees
• Travel insurance
• Items of personal nature
• Gratuities for the crew

Accommodations
March 1 to 8: The Safari Voyager, a 174-foot yacht-style boat which holds 64 guests, newly refurbished with upscale amenities. Guests will enjoy breathtaking views from four public decks and a window-lined lounge offering an uncompromised 270-degree view with comfortable seating for all guests. Other features of the yacht include an elegant dining room and library. Guest staterooms are generously-sized and feature panoramic windows; individually controlled air conditioning; generous storage and closet space; and a large private bath with shower.

Physical requirements: Easy/flexible
This cruise is best enjoyed if you are in good health, fit and able to enjoy comfortably paced moderate walks over some uneven terrain and on paths and trails, which are sometimes slippery.
We understand that not all guests desire the same level of physical activity. Therefore, we offer a variety of experiences ranging from beachside R&R to adventurous hikes.

Optional additional activities
Kayaks, stand-up paddle boards and snorkel gear is provided.

Important information
Our ship’s intimate size gives us access to secluded passages, coves and wilderness areas—allowing for spontaneity and the ability to take advantage of opportunities as they arise. A day’s schedule may change to improve your experience when wildlife presents itself or there is an added desire to explore an area beyond a certain period of time. Your captain and expedition leader will keep you informed of any changes.

Getting there and getting home
Please plan to arrive in Los Cabos, Mexico, by no later than 4:30 p.m. on March 1, and depart no earlier than noon on March 8.

For reservations and more information

Cheryl Mell
312-692-3161
cmell@sheddaquarium.org

Journey cost, per person

• $2,995 double occupancy
• $3,995 single-room occupancy

 $700-$800 estimated airfare from Chicago to Los Cabos, Mexico

Other travel opportunities

This trip is one of four offered through Shedd Adventures in 2014. See where else you could venture.

Aquarium membership included with your adventure

Continue your connection with nature after you return home. Each household with a Shedd Adventures traveler receives a complimentary Sponsor-level Shedd Aquarium membership.

Buy Tickets Give Now Be A Member Shop Online Facebook Flickr Twitter YouTube Google+ Instagram Pinterest Vine