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Both Sides of Baja: Whale Watching in San Ignacio Lagoon and Kayaking the Sea of Cortez March 26 - April 2, 2006 Rating: Easy Hiking/Moderate Kayaking Group Size Limit: 12 Trip Leader: Tacy Weeks Hahn Accommodations: 5 nights beach-front hotel in Loreto, 2 nights camping San Ignacio Lagoon Cost: $1,895; Reservation Deposit $500. Balance due 3 months before start date of trip. Note: Price subject to change until your deposit is made. Leave winter behind and join us in sunny Baja. We'll explore the best of both sides of the Baja peninsula. On the Pacific side, we'll whale watch and meet some friendly whales close up in San Ignacio Lagoon. Then, on the Sea of Cortez side, we'll kayak, snorkel, hike and enjoy the fabulous landscape of Baja. Besides whales, we'll have the chance to view Baja’s renowned birdlife and other sea creatures such as turtles and dolphins. We'll spend three days in San Ignacio Lagoon with Pachico Mayoral, one of the first people to have a friendly encounter with a whale back in the 1970s. Now Pachico runs a local tour operation in which his entire family is involved. Whales and their newborn calves often approach the boats in San Ignacio Lagoon, and even let people reach down and pet them! We'll have a very good chance of encounters with friendly whales (Pachico says 80-85 percent in favor). Even if we can't touch any whales, they will be close by, only 10 to 15 feet away. You'll see whales spy hopping, breaching, rolling, and often spraying toward the boats. Then we'll travel back to Loreto and explore this charming town. Once the capital of California, Loreto has cobblestone streets, a friendly atmosphere and desert wilderness just 10 minutes from downtown. We'll kayak, snorkel and explore coves and off-shore islands in the beautiful Sea of Cortez. If you're new to kayaking, our experienced local guides will teach you, and there will be options for longer or shorter paddling days to choose from. In the late afternoon and evenings we can shop and enjoy our waterfront lodging and restaurants in Loreto. On our last day we will visit a mountain mission village and day hike in the canyons or take a mule ride along the original El Camino Real trail. Day 1, Sunday ~ Fly to Loreto; Orientation Our guides will meet you at the Loreto airport for transfer to our hotel on the waterfront, just 100 yards from the beach and only 2 1/2 blocks from town center. Please try to schedule your arrival no later than early evening because we are departing very early the next morning for our whale watching camp at San Ignacio Lagoon. For more information, see Arrival and Departure Planning below. Dinner out and orientation about 6 PM. Day 2, Monday ~ Van to San Ignacio Lagoon Whale Watching Camp Our van departs early this morning at 7 AM for our drive across Baja to our whale watching camp with the Mayoral family at San Ignacio Lagoon. Be prepared for about a 4 1/2 hour drive through gorgeous desert wilderness. We'll stop for lunch and photo opportunities along the way and arrive in camp about noon. Our camp is quite civilized with a large dining tent, a bar, a natural history library, showers and salt water flush toilets. There will be double occupancy in tents with comfortable inflatable mattresses and sleeping bags provided. After orientation and getting settled we'll go whale watching about 1 PM. The boats are 22-feet long with room for 7-8 passengers. The small size of the boats allows us to get very close to the surface of the water-- within petting distance, and is ideal for photographs. We'll return to camp about 4 PM. Happy hour at 5 PM and dinner by 6:30 PM. 8 PM talk about gray whales, natural history, bird watching and nesting grounds, and conservation efforts in the area. (Breakfast, Dinner) Day 3, Tuesday ~ Two whale watching tours Breakfast at 8:30 AM and head out for a double tour about 10 AM. We’ll have a picnic lunch at the mouth of the lagoon and after an hour break another whale watching tour. Return to camp late afternoon with happy hour and dinner by 6:30PM (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) Day 4, Wednesday ~ Whale Watching, return to Loreto Breakfast at 8:30 AM, whale watching 10 AM and back to camp by noon. Light lunch and depart for Loreto. Arrive in Loreto about 6:30 PM, check into our hotel. Dinner out. (Breakfast, Lunch) Day 5, Thursday ~ Isla Coronado, kayaking and snorkeling After breakfast we'll meet our kayaking guides for orientation for our Loreto activities and then depart on a skiff trip to one of the islands near Loreto, Isla Coronado. Picnic lunch on the long sandy beach on the island; explore island by kayak, snorkeling. Return to Loreto by skiff or kayak (3-6 hours of paddling or less today, your choice) (Breakfast, Lunch) Day 6, Friday ~ Punta Nopolo for snorkeling and kayaking Day paddle to Punta Nopolo for snorkeling (2-3 hours of paddling). Our put-in point for the kayaks is at the beach near our hotel. Longer paddling day for those interested, to Bahia Chuenque and Juncalito (5-6 hours of paddling). (Breakfast, Lunch) Day 7, Saturday ~ All day trip to mountain mission village We'll visit a mountain mission village with a goat ranch and see tortilla making. Tour of an historic mission, lunch at ranch or village cafe, day hike in canyon or 2-3 hour mule ride along the original El Camino Real trails. Return to Loreto for a fun dinner on our last night in Baja. (Breakfast, Lunch) Day 8, Sunday ~ Departure and return home Check out of our hotel and return home. Note: Itinerary subject to change at leader's discretion due to weather and other contingencies. WHAT YOUR TRIP INCLUDES: Five nights hotel lodging in Loreto (double-occupancy) Excellent food, (provided meals are noted on daily itinerary) Transfer from Loreto airport to hotel on Day 1 Van transportation to and from San Ignacio Lagoon Whale watching tours Camp fees and all camping equipment including sleeping bags while at San Ignacio Lagoon Kayaking and snorkeling instruction, guides and equipment Experienced leadership Local bi-lingual guides knowledgeable about grey whales and the natural history of the area Transportation to mission village Tours and mule rides on Day 7 NOT INCLUDED: Airfare to and from Loreto Some Restaurant meals, as noted on itinerary Transfer to Loreto airport on Day 8 Optional tips for your guides About tipping: People on our trips often ask us about gratuities, so here are some guidelines: If Carole Latimer is leading your trip she, as the owner of the business, does not accept tips–but the other guides do. In Mexico, each person usually tips $2-$3 per day for each guide depending on the level of service and the number of guides assigned to the trip (people do not usually tip any Guide Interns.) Your guides cook and serve your meals and take care of many extra details to give you a safe and fun trip. Tips at the end of the trip are a way of showing your special appreciation if you feel that your guides have given very good service to you. DAILY ACTIVITY AND MILEAGE OPTIONS We are rating this trip Easy/Moderate and our goal on this multi-sport trip is to provide you with the most flexibility. On most days you have your choice of several hours of kayaking, for example, or of just a couple of hours with some snorkeling and beach time. Day 1 ~ Travel to Loreto, walking tour of town Day 2 ~ Whale watching tour Day 3 ~ Two whale watching tours, walk on beach at San Ignacio Lagoon (less than an hour) Day 4 ~ Whale Watching tour Day 5 ~ Skiff ride to Isla Coronado; kayaking, snorkeling. Option of 3-6 hours of paddling; High energy kayakers can paddle back to Loreto for an additional 2-3 hours of paddling from Isla Coronado. Day 6 ~ Kayaking day trip, snorkeling and 2-3 hours of paddling; option for longer paddling day for high energy kayakers (5-6 hours). Day 7 ~ Tour of mountain village and goat ranch, see tortilla making. Tour of historic mission. Option of 3-5 mile hike in canyons or 2-3 hour mule ride along the El Camino Real trails. Day 8 ~ Travel home QUALIFICATIONS Call of the Wild trips are designed for flexible, energetic people who like to be active and have a spirit of adventure. We expect trip participants to be in good physical condition, aerobically fit, and willing to undergo the potential hardships of the outdoors. Swimming is a great asset, however, you will be wearing life jackets when you are in the boats and kayaks. You must have your own health insurance. Our best trips are those where everyone is equipped with a positive attitude, the sensitivity to recognize the needs of the group, and a sense of humor! HOW TO REGISTER First, call (510-849-9292) or e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) us to see if there are spaces available on the trip. We will hold your space for 7 days while you are completing the application process, making travel arrangements, and mailing your deposit check (we do not accept credit cards). Next, send in the required deposit and a completed and signed Trip Application. In order to keep the cost of your trip down, we do not accept credit cards. The Trip Application is available by fax, mail, or from our Web site at www.callwild.com/trip_application.htm. After receiving your deposit and application, we will send you confirmation of your reservation and an information pack on your trip. TRIP CANCELLATION INSURANCE We strongly suggest that you take out trip cancellation insurance. Call of the Wild does not issue cash refunds, no matter what the circumstances of your cancellation may be. Depending on the time of your cancellation, you may or may not be eligible for a credit for another trip. Please read our refund and cancellation policy at www.callwild.com/jointrip.htm. You may be committed to going on your trip, but more times than we like to think about people have been forced to cancel because of some completely unexpected misfortune. To sign up for Travel Guard insurance call us for a brochure or visit www.callwild.com/travelguard.htm. For certain coverage, you must purchase insurance within 14 days of making your initial deposit with Call of the Wild. Please Note: Call of the Wild provides TravelGuard insurance brochures and a link to the TravelGuard Web site for your convenience. However, there are many travel insurance companies such as HTH Worldwide, Travel Safe, and Travel Insured. When you buy travel insurance, it is your responsibility to know the restrictions and provisions of your policy ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE PLANNING Please plan your arrival in Loreto on Sunday, March 26. Try to schedule your arrival in the afternoon or early evening. We are going out for dinner and orientation about 6 PM since we are departing early the next morning for our whale watching camp at San Ignacio Lagoon. Aero- California flights from Los Angeles arrive in Loreto about 2 PM. If you wish to arrive in Loreto earlier than March 26, please contact us and we can help you arrange your hotel reservations. Your departure can be planned at anytime on Sunday, April 2. Aero California and Aero Mexico have flights to Loreto for around $300-350 round trip depending on scheduling and ticket payment. Please call contact Aero California at 800-701- 2376 or Aero Mexico at 800-237-6639 for more information. Please allow 2-1/2 to 3 hours between connections as you will be checked through customs on your return. AIR TRAVEL AGENT For air travel, please contact Wendy Fazio at Skyline Travel 510-530-1100 or e-mail email@example.com . Let her know that you are traveling with Call of the Wild. WEATHER Daytime temperatures in late March, early April average in the 80s on the warmer Sea of Cortez side and from the 50s up to 80s on the Pacific San Ignacio Lagoon side of Baja. Night time temperatures are usually in the mid- to low 50s but can sometimes fall into the 40s at night along the coast. It can be windy but days are usually warm and sunny. Rain is rare, but is possible, so bring rain gear. Rain gear will also help keep you warm and dry on the whale watching boats. Dress in layers and be certain to bring enough warm clothes in case it is cold on San Ignacio Lagoon, a wool hat can make all the difference in cooler temperatures. GUIDES AND SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS Call of the Wild guides have extensive wilderness experience and bring proven leadership to your wilderness trip. We pride ourselves on giving women safe opportunities to venture out and do something that perhaps they've never done before. Call of the Wild guides are certified Wilderness First Responders and they'll go the extra mile to make you feel at home in what may be an unfamiliar environment to you. To assure quality and safety on this trip, the guest-to-guide ratio is no more than 4-1. Our guides in Mexico are bi-lingual and have been leading trips for many years. The Mayoral family at San Ignacio Lagoon has been conducting safe and fun whale watching tours since the 1970s. The family is actively involved in preserving the natural history and ecology of San Ignacio Lagoon and their guides are trained in Leave No Trace. Our experienced and "Baja knowledgeable" kayaking guides on the Sea of Cortez, also LNT trained, will teach the basics of kayaking and safety on the first day of kayaking and will help you develop paddling technique during your trip. If you have any concerns about your health or safety at any time during the trip, please inform the trip leader. WATER Drinking water used in the San Ignacio camp and on our kayak outings will be from a local purified water outlet. Our hotel in Loreto provides our rooms with purified bottled water. For more information on water, see General Information for Travelers in Baja, included in your Registration Packet which is sent out after you sign up for the trip. ABOUT THE FOOD PROVIDED ON THIS TRIP Our food at the San Ignacio Lagoon whale watching camp is the traditional Mexican family cuisine of this area with many fish dishes. Cervazas or cocktails are provided with dinner. The Hotel Isla in Loreto provides continental breakfasts: Mexican sweet breads, yogurt, fruit, coffee and teas, juice, and a protein such as deviled eggs or cheese and ham slices. Lunches while kayaking will typically be sandwiches on bakery bread, a guacamole and jicama salad with seafood, all served with fruit and something sweet like cookies, juice and afternoon coffee or tea if desired. Trail mix and snack bars are also provided. Our Mexican guides add a fantastic flair to meals with family recipes, and ingredients are fresh with local flavor. Our meals out in Loreto will be high quality sea food and authentic Mexican food. There are many good restaurants in Loreto. Please note that while we can certainly accommodate vegetarians we can't accommodate every individual food preference, and can't make separate meals or bring different provisions for individual diets. Special diet foods such as protein supplements, lacto, or non-wheat alternatives are not usually available in Loreto. Therefore, if you have food allergies, if you are vegan, or if you don't eat certain foods we suggest that you plan to bring your own food to supplement the above menus. For more information on eating out in Mexico see General Information for Travelers in Baja, included in your Registration Packet which is sent out after you sign up for the trip. GOOD BAJA BOOKS There is a library with all kinds of books about whales and natural history at our camp in San Ignacio Bay, and books will also be available on our kayaking daytrips. Here is a list of selected titles: natural history, field guides, and just good reads. Titles marked with an asterisk can be ordered at www.codysbooks.com *Almost An Island, Travels in Baja California, Bruce Berger *Breaking Out of Beginner's Spanish, Joseph J. Keenan *Baja California, Lonely Planet Guidebook Baja California Plant Field Guide, Norman C Roberts *Eye of the Whale, Epic Passage From Baja to Siberia, Dick Russell *The Forgotten Peninsula, A Naturalist in Baja California, Joseph Wood Krutch *The Log from the Sea of Cortez, John Steinbeck *Loreto, Baja California, First Mission and Capitol of California by Ann and Don O'Neil *Reflections of a Whale Watcher, Michele Gilders *Reef Fishes of the Sea of Cortez, Donald Thompson, Lloyd Findley, Alex Kersitch. *The Rough Guide Map of Baja *Sea of Cortez Marine Animals, Daniel Gotshall *Smithsonian Handbook: Whales Dolphins and Porpoises, Mark Carwardine
"Both Sides of Baja Whale Watching in San Ignacio Lagoon and "