Sea of Cortez, Baja, Whale Sharks & Gray Whales
DATES: 2019 – Jan 29-Feb 08; Feb 19-Mar 01 (Photography)
DURATION: 11 DAYS/10 NIGHTS
EMBARK: LA PAZ, BCS
DISEMBARK: LORETO, BCS
Cruise the Sea of Cortes Aboard a Historic Wooden Yacht, from La Paz to Loreto, Baja.
An 11-day/10-night expedition among the scattered islands along the shore of the Baja peninsula. Snorkel with young sea lions, walk along desert island ridges and palm-lined arroyos. Cruising aboard this historic 1924 wooden yacht will be reminiscent of John Steinbeck and Ed Ricketts 1940 voyage aboard the “Western Flyer”, but with modern comforts! Each cabin has private en suite bathroom.
•Sailing aboard a beautifully restored1924 yacht, with original AtlasDiesel engine
•Swim with whale sharks!
•Kayak, hike, nature walks
•Snorkel with Sea Lions
•Visit Loreto and La Paz, the capitalof Baja California Sur
Includes all meals, beer, wine and standard liquor (You may bring your own preferred brands), taxes and fees, transportation, hotels, excursions, and transfers.
- Flight to San Jose del Cabo
- Return fight from Loreto
- Trip insurance
- Gratuities to crew
Arrive La Paz, Baja
Please plan your arrival at the Los Cabos airport to be prior to 1:30 PM. One of our crew will meet you as you exit the arrivals door at the Los Cabos Airport, and you will be escorted to our van which will transport you to La Paz. We hope to leave the airport at 2:00 PM for the drive back to La Paz, so please plan your arrival time accordingly. Upon your arrival at our boutique hotel in La Paz there will be time for a stroll along the bay-side malecon before we gather for dinner at a nearby restaurant.
You may also choose to visit the Copper Canyon prior to the Sea of Cortes cruise, in which case you may fly from Los Mochis direct to La Paz. Ask us for details.
Bahia Magdalena – Gray Whales
After breakfast at a small cafe, you will meet your van transportation to Bahia Magdalena, which is a gray whale birthing and breeding lagoon on Baja’s west coast. Bring an overnight bag.
It is about three hours from Loreto to Bahia Magdalena. There will be stretching stops along the way. In Bahia Magdalena, the van will drop you off at the panga landing site. This is a lot of time in a van, but the payoff is extraordinary! Also, your route will be through some of the most scenic country in Baja.
For your visit in the lagoon, a video, or short lens is recommended, as the whales typically come to you. It is an extraordinary experience to make eye contact with a 30-ton animal that has seemingly approached yourpanga solely for the purpose of exchanging winks!
You will return to your overnight accommodations in a small beach-front hotel. Your meals will either be at the hotel, or in nearby restaurants., and a welcome night’s rest after a day filled with fresh sea air (and perhaps whale breath!).
Bahia Magdalena to La Paz
After breakfast, you will head back out into the lagoon for another visit to whale waters. Lunch will await you back on shore before packing up and boarding the van for the return trip to La Paz. Here, you will spend one more night in the hotel after gathering once again for a group dinner.
La Paz – Board Westward
After breakfast at the hotel you will transfer to the harbor where, after boarding a “panga”, you will make the short cruise to the whale shark swimming area. This activity is closely regulated to protect these large, but delicate animals. Entering the whale swim area, you will don your snorkeling gear and, with our guide Carlos by your side, swim alongside the largest fish in the ocean!
Returning to the hotel after your encounter with the whale sharks, you will have a chance to shower and change before being met by members of our crew who will guide you for the short walk from your hotel to the marina where Westward will be moored. Following a short safety and systems orientation we will get underway for the three hour run to our anchorage for the night. Lunch will be served underway.
Days 5 through 10
Cruising Sea of Cortes
We will spend these six days cruising through the scattered islands between La Paz and Loreto. On the way we will kayak along rugged cliffs and into quiet mangrove-lined lagoons, snorkel in impossibly clear water, cataloging myriad fish that seem to fly beneath us, and gather to enjoy truly gourmet meals.
Weather and sea conditions play a huge part in how we select our routes and anchorages, but with thousands of miles of experience in and among these islands we will show our guests the very best of what is available during the duration of our time together.
In these waters we have seen blue, humpback, sperm and fin whales, orcas, common and bottle nose dolphins, pilot whales, and acres of leaping manta and mobula rays. We have had striped marlin swim right next to our boat, and taken so many sunrise and sunset pictures that we have struggled to choose our favorites.
Loreto – Disembark
Raising our anchor after breakfast and perhaps a final kayak paddle, we will make the short transit from our night’s anchorage to Puerto Escondido, about 15 miles south of Loreto.
Our van will meet us at 10:30 for the twenty minute drive to Loreto’s International Airport. Our crew will accompany you to the airport for final goodbyes and to provide help if it is needed.
Or add a visit to the amazing Copper Canyon. You will fly from La Paz across the Sea of Cortes to Los Mochis, where you will overnight in a beautiful historic hacienda in El Fuerte. In the morning, board the El Chepe narrow gauge train to climb from sea level to 8,000 ft – one of the world’s most scenic railways. Spend two nights at the beautiful Mirador Hotel, built on the rim of the canyon. End in Chihuahua for you flight home.
Westward was launched in 1924 and was the very first boat built specifically to convey charter guests in Alaskan waters. She is designated as a Historic Place by the National Park Service. The 1924 Atlas, the oldest running one in the world outside of the Smithsonian, graces the WESTWARD with the same life beat. We use large battery banks that allow us to go for 12 hours without starting an engine to disrupt the quiet solitude of an evening at anchor in a secluded cove.
Our warm interiors, with decade’s old varnished wood paneling, heavy beamed ceilings and glowing mahogany trim and furniture takes us back to a time when craftsmanship was the rule rather than the exception.
Built 1924 Vashon Island, WA
Length 86’ Beam 18.5’ Draft 9’
Powered by original Atlas Imperial Diesel Engine
MV WESTWARD was designed by the renowned northwest naval architect L.E. “Ted” Geary and built at the J.A. Martinolich Shipyard in Dockton, Washington. The WESTWARD was modeled after a salmon cannery tender and constructed—around a 1923 Atlas engine. She was launched in 1924 as the flagship of the Alaska Coast Hunting and Cruising Co. and pioneered hunting, fishing, and adventure travel in the remote regions of Washington, British Columbia and Alaska.
WESTWARD and Alaska Coast served a noteworthy clientele of hunters and fishermen for nearly twenty years. Distinguished guests included Bing Crosby, Walt Disney, George Eastman, A.C. Gilbert, E.F. Hutton and Marjorie Merriweather Post, Paul Mellon, Richard K. Mellon, Hal Roach, Rudolph Schilling, John Wayne, Dean Witter, and numerous other VIP’s of the era.
During WW II, WESTWARD served as a patrol boat off the California coast before returning to the Pacific Northwest where she operated another twenty years, as both private yacht and charter vessel, for two different owners.
In 1967 WESTWARD was purchased by a California couple, Donald G. and Anna Louise Gumpertz and moved to Los Angeles. From this new homeport WESTWARD cruised the world extensively, including a 47,000 mile circumnavigation of the globe from 1970 to 1976.
WESTWARD was purchased by Hugh Reilly and returned to the Pacific Northwest in 1993 to resume her career as a charter and expedition vessel operating in southeast Alaska.
Hugh Reilly had WESTWARD’s hull extensively rebuilt in 2005 – 2006 to mitigate the impact of more than eighty year’s operation and to ensure her vitality for a second century. Then he and his wife, Teresa, circumnavigated the Pacific Ocean from 2007 – 2008. WESTWARD continued to be used as a personal yacht for his family until December 2012.
In December 2012, Bill and Shannon Bailey, of Pacific Catalyst II, purchased her for use in their adventure travel business.
WESTWARD remains dependably powered by her original Atlas Imperial Diesel Engine and has benefitted from continuous upgrades to her engine, systems, structure, and accommodations. She is listed with the US National Register of Historic Places, having her life well documented through the efforts of Hugh Reilly and John Sabella, as to her contribution to maritime history in the Pacific Northwest and the United States of America.