Gray Whale and Sea Turtle Academic Adventure (4D/3N)

Whale watching Magdalena Bay

RED’s academic adventures provide a hands-on learning environment that helps build character, spur interest, expand knowledge and develop research skills and critical thinking. Surrounded by breathtaking land and seascapes, students will use all of their five senses to achieve a perfect balance of fun and learning. The nature-focused activities are complemented by local conservationists, who contribute their experience and knowledge of the human-nature interaction. Much more than a field excursion, our goal is to instill students both with an understanding and a sense of involvement in some of the most pressing scientific and social themes encountered today.

Students visiting Magdalena Bay with RED will focus on a range of themes including:

Sea turtle monitoring and conservation
Students will take part in a project recognized around the world as a model for community based sea turtle conservation. After learning about sea turtle ecology, the threats to the species and their habitat, local fisher-conservationists will guide students through the monitoring protocol they use to gather data. After the monitoring team traps sea turtles in drift nets, students will assist recording measurements and other data, before releasing the turtles back into the wild.

Gray whale observation
Students will learn about the incredible gray whale migration, stretching more than 5,000 miles from the Arctic to the protected waters of Magdalena Bay where they mate and calve. Students will get the chance to hone their whale identification techniques on two excursions for whale observation, as well as learn about the research projects being conducted in the region.

Mangrove and sand dune ecology
RED’s sea turtle research camp is nestled into a strip of sand dunes that divides Magdalena and Almejas bays, and is bounded on either side by lush mangroves. Students will learn about the importance of these fragile ecosystems before hiking to the top of one of the highest dunes for hundreds of miles around. On an excursion through the mangrove canals, students will learn to identify the different species of mangrove, as well as the intricate web of life contained within.

Humans and nature – the fisheries of Magdalena Bay
Humans play an important role in Magdalena Bay, one of Mexico’s most productive fisheries. Students will learn about fisheries issues and projects focused on creating more sustainable fisheries in the region. They will then have the chance to meet local fishermen and to use artisanal fishing techniques.

Highlights:
Whale watching, Sea turtle monitoring, mangrove exploration, dune hiking, cultural interaction, bird watching, star gazing, gourmet cuisine.

Customized Academic Adventures for the following:
• Grade school students from 8 years
• Junior, Middle and High School students
• College level ecology or specific theme-based learning programs
• Post graduate field programs

Departure City:
La Paz, Baja California Sur
Departure from Los Cabos or Loreto available upon request.

Season:
November to May

Duration:
4 days / 3 nights
(Can me customized)

Day 1 – La Paz to Magdalena Bay
Depart from La Paz early in the morning en route to Magdalena Bay, jewel of the Pacific and home to a staggering number of migratory and marine birds, sea turtles, and marine mammals including the migratory gray whales. Breakfast will be provided en route at one of our favorite local ranchos. Settle into our secluded island camp and after happy hour, learn about the important sea turtle restoration project which will be the focus of tomorrow’s activities. Get a good night’s rest, tomorrow we search for turtles.

Day 2 – Sea Turtle Monitoring
Wake up early and grab a cup of coffee and watch the fisher-conservationists prepare the nets used in the sea turtle monitoring, or stay in bed and catch a few extra z’s. During breakfast we will learn about the monitoring protocol and how we can participate in the data collection. Every two hours you will have the chance to accompany the monitoring team in pangas to check the nets for turtles. Captured sea turtles will be transported to camp where we will help take measurements and other important data before releasing them back into the wild. Throughout the day you’ll have the chance to get all your questions about sea turtles. After dinner, take in the stars in a night sky that never disappoints.

Day 3 – Mangrove exploration
Head down to the beach to finish measuring and weighing sea turtles before releasing them back into the wild, concluding the sea turtle monitoring portion of the trip. Today we explore the magic of the greater Magdalena Bay complex, it’s vast, rolling sand dunes and winding mangrove canals teeming with birdlife. Back at camp, budding chefs can head to the kitchen for regional cuisine cooking class. The rest of the group can head to the beach to learn artisanal fishing techniques, or relax and get lost in a book. Tonight we will learn about the gray whales, their incredible migration, and the importance of Magdalena Bay for breeding and calving to these magnificent creatures. Sit by the fire tonight and swap stories with your fisher guides and learn about the crucial role they play in conserving the natural resources of Magdalena Bay by combining tourism with conservation.

Day 4 – Gray Whales to La Paz
Bid farewell to your hosts and head out early to search for gray whales. We will depart by van for a short ride south before climbing about pangas that will take us out into the channel. Friendly whales often approach the boats, and the mothers are known to push the young calves closer, which can make for an incredible interaction between two species. We will enjoy a picnic lunch on a secluded barrier island before heading back out to see whales. Afterwards, we will head south to La Paz where the journey concludes.

Date
Departures Available Upon Request. Contact us for more information.

Price: From $1350 US per person | Custom rates. Contact us for more information.

Includes
2 gray whale watching expeditions, sea turtle monitoring, ground transportation from La Paz to Magdalena Bay and back, regional gourmet cuisine (including wine and beer), upgraded camping accommodations with mattresses and linens.

Excludes
Breakfast on day 1 and dinner on day 4, hotels or transportation prior or after the trip, tips (usually 10-15% of the trip fee)

Adults

Children

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