Baja Mexico: Palisades May 2020
Easy Physical Activity
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A week-long island adventure in the Sea of Cortez designed to teach Palisades High School students about marine ecology through exciting outdoor adventures and amazing animals encounters in one of the most biologically diverse marine system in the world!!
“What truly amazes me about the Gulf of California is how alive it is. Its islands— populated not by people but by seabirds, sea lions, and lovely, life-asserting desert plants—give an impression of wilderness far beyond the proximity of the U.S. and mainland Mexico. Despite serious over fishing for some species, the Gulf is largely a safe haven. For us it is a safe haven too, an easily accessed place to marvel at wild abundance, wide horizons, and intense desert beauty.” – Author & Scientist Carl Safina
Hello Palisades Parents & Students!
You are invited to join Mr. Chilton on an unforgettable marine science adventure to the Sea of Cortez. Snorkeling day trips combined with student centered research projects, and evening presentations will teach young adventurers about the ecology of the Sea of Cortez, and ways to protect the world’s waters no matter where on Earth they live.
The base of the adventure is our camp set on an uninhabited island and World Heritage Site surrounded by a marine preserve. It is a classroom in the wild surrounded by a living laboratory to explore, play, and discover!
Far from roughing it, the camp provide all of the creature comforts you are used to except that you are sleeping in a tent. A 6 person crew, 1-2 guides, naturalist, and boat captain will ensure that participants are well fed, cared for, and that they have a positive experience that they will remember forever. Amenities include, solar power, manual flushing toilets, solar showers, and all equipment is provided! During free time, students can relax, work on research projects, or enjoy the use of kayaks, and paddle boards.
Students will explore a variety of habitats from shallow bays, rocky reefs, coral reefs, and even open water. Topside adventures include kayaking and various hiking. Hands on conservation projects such as coral reef restoration, REEF fish surveys will make students active participants in helping in the conservation of the Sea of Cortez.
This is an educational adventure that most people only dream about. Hope you will join us in May!
- Learn to snorkel and explore coral reefs, rocky reefs, and sandy bays.
- Dive in with 500 wild and playful wild sea lions.
- Experience beach-life while glamping on an uninhabited island.
- Kayak through sea caves and along rugged desert coast.
- Hike through pristine desert and learn about seemingly otherworldly creatures that have adapted to this extreme environment.
- Daily whale watching and dolphin spotting boat trips at sunset.
- See the sky full of billions of stars, unhindered by light pollution.
- Learn to SCUBA dive! (Additional Fee)
Your Tour Guides
Divemaster / Fun Baja Diving & Eco-Adventures, LaPaz, Mexico
Chabelo (Pronounced Chaah Bell-O) is a Divemaster for Fun Baja Diving & Eco-Adventures based out of La Paz. Chabelo has been instructing and leading SCUBA divers for 15 years with Fun Baja and instructing snorkeling and free-diving with Green Edventures for 8 years. Our guests consistently tell us how they appreciate the care and attention he gives to everyone in the group. Chabelo is funny, playful, and loves to share everything he knows about his backyard, the Sea of Cortez and his home, La Paz. Chabelo is talented at finding marine life so participants can see the most of the reef. He is also a sea lion whisperer. With him, you will see and interact with the sea lions in a very special way. Your friends won’t believe the pictures!
Guide / Baja
►Where Do We Stay?
- Night 1: Camp
- Night 2: Camp
- Night 3: Camp
- Night 4: Camp
- Night 5: Camp
- Night 6: Hotel in La Paz
►Day 1: Arrival to Los Cabos, Journey to Espiritu Santo Island.
Your group will arrive in Los Cabos at 11:00 am. We’ll board the 15-passenger vans and drive 1.5 hours north toward La Paz with a stop for lunch halfway. After lunch we’ll continue north another 1.5 hours. In La Paz, we head toward the marina and the Fun Baja Dive Shop. Here, dive gear is issued and the boats are loaded for the journey to Espiritu Santo Island, your home for the next four nights! We will arrive at camp before dark, just in time for a tour and then a fabulous dinner! The tents will already be set up and ready for you to move in.
Introduction to Sea of Cortez
►Day 2: Snorkeling School in Ensenada Grande and Explore Rocky Reefs of Las Cuevas.
Participants will learn basic snorkeling skills and then free-diving techniques in the shallow bay of Ensenada Grande.
Participants will use their snorkeling skills to explore the rocky shoreline at Las Cuevas and their free-diving skills to see garden eels in the sandy flats at 25ft.
Survival of the Finnest: Fish are the most abundant vertebrate animals which dominate nearly every habitat in the hydrosphere. Why are they so successful?
►Day 3: Cross Island Sunrise Hike and Snorkeling at El Candelero Island
We depart camp at about 6am, when the stars are still in the sky, and light is about to break. The hike is relatively flat with a few boulders to scramble up or slide down. The trail terminates at the opposite side of the island and reveals stunning views of the eastern side of the island, especially as the sun comes over the horizon. We will return to camp at about 830am for breakfast. The remainder of the morning will be free time to work on projects, journals, or to rest.
Escape the heat and jump into the cool water at Isla El Candelero. This tiny island is a great spot to get up close to birds like cormorants, gulls, and pelicans; as this island serves as a small rookery.
Gulf of California: Introduction to an ocean oasis: 40 minute slide show presentation that introduces students to oceanography and the physical processes which formed the Gulf of California and the biotic and abiotic factors that make it one of the most biological diverse marine systems on the planet.
►Day 4: Coral Reef Ecology & Coral Restoration
After breakfast we will depart by boat and travel 30 minutes south to San Gabriel Bay to explore an archaeology site and then to snorkel El Corralito Bay. The clear, calm, sun-filled waters provide prime conditions for a very large expanse of continuous hard coral reef known as the carpet of corals.
Here, learn about coral reef ecology and help scientist with coral reef restoration.
►Day 5: Sea Lions at Los Islotes
Get up close and personal with our favorite underwater “dogs.” Named the friendliest sea lion colony in North America, Los Islotes is the best place to interact with them in their natural habitat. They dart past you, nibble on your fins, and get whisker-to-dive mask with you for great photos and videos, too.
We return to Los Islotes to explore other habitats for those who want a little more time with the sea lions.
There are many different habitats around Los Islotes, we may visit several times. On the North side of the island is a shallow reef of hard and soft corals. The water is so clear that the sunlight brings out the natural colors of the corals and fishes. It is so easy to take photos here with even the most basic of cameras. At the arch, large boulders the size of cars, are piled on the bottom forming habitat for very large groupers, eels, and Amarillo Snappers. Bright Orange Cup corals, barnacles, tube worms, and other sessile inverts cling to the rocks. This site will be your favorite for the week, if not your favorite for life!
Empty Ocean: Human caused environmental issues threatening biodiversity of the global ocean.
►Day 7: La Paz: Meet with Local Environmental Activists & Cultural Day
Meet with local environmental activists working on projects to help protect the Sea of Cortez. Possible presentations by scientists, as well as non-traditional science disciplines such as filmmakers, artists, and storytellers who work to study, document, and preserve the Sea of Cortez. — Actual presentation will be determined by the availability of the speakers that day.
We will visit some of the cultural attractions of La Paz, then shopping for souvenirs along the malecon.
We’ll gather once last time at Rancho Viejo Restaurant for a mouthwatering dinner of their famous arrecherra style meat with fresh salsas and tortillas. Research project presentation this evening.
►Day 8: Departure Day
We will meet in the hotel restaurant for a hearty breakfast for your big travel day. The group will depart the hotel at 7am for 12:10 flight from Los Cabos.. You will journey by 15-passenger van to Los Cabos Airport.
** Please note: The activities, lodging, guides, and schedule may change without notice as practical considerations arise during program development or onsite. **
Inclusions & Exclusions
- Airfare from Newark, NJ to Los Cabos, Mexico.
- Group ground transfers
- Group meals from lunch on arrival day to breakfast on departure day.
- All activities and lodging.
$2555 per student.
Installments: $400 per month for 5 months January 1-May 1, 2020
Spots Available: 21
For information about this trip or for the registration form, please contact:
Mr. Mark Chiton
All payments are non-refundable if cancelled by the participant. Participants are highly encouraged to purchase travel insurance to cover unforeseen circumstances that may interrupt or cancel the trip. In the unlikely event that Green Edventures is unable to fill the trip due a full refund will be given.
Students will need a valid passport to travel to Mexico that is valid for the duration of the stay and must have one blank page. Participants are also required to have a notarized form signed by both parents providing permission for minor children to travel.