Striped Marlin Expedition 2022
Posted May 5th, 2021 by Elisabeth
Dive Expedition Outline
Looking Forward to a Post-Pandemic World
When this pandemic started, we were just back from one of our coolest and most challenging dive expeditions and were looking forward to a few more in 2020. Little did we know that many would lose their lives, loved ones, long-term health, jobs and businesses. And all of us would lose close to 2 years of our travel time.
We are now cautiously looking forward to the future in hopes of getting a chance to get back in the water to capture new and amazing footage in some of the most picturesque dive sites on the planet. Oceans Below is making tentative plans to do a few trips at the end of 2022 and we are looking for adventurous people to join us.
Expedition 2022 Baja California- Sardine Run
We will start with our Baja, Mexico sardine run. This is a fantastic trip which is packed with wildlife, crazy experiences and the unexpected. If you’ve never been to Baja, you are in for a thrill. The landscape is wild and untamed and the mountains and seas seem to go on forever.
La Paz and Magdalena Bay
We’ll fly in to La Paz on the first day where we will stay together in a nice Air BNB in the town center. We can have an afternoon to chill around the house, catch up on some sleep (for those with long trips and jet lag to deal with), or have a look in this nice little tourist town by the beach. The food is fantastic here and sipping a top-shelf margarita on the boardwalk while eating chips with fresh guacamole and salsa is a great way to start the Mexico experience.
The next day around noon we will make our way by private minivan to Magdalena Bay where we will check into our rooms and prep for the following day’s adventure. This is a time to get cameras sorted, batteries charged and check that all equipment is good to go. After more good Mexican food and a moderate number of drinks, we will get our heads down early to be up well before the crack of dawn to make the last 1 hour drive to the water’s edge.
Our boat captain, Gabino, will be waiting for us with a big smile and a basketful of Mexican breakfasts- bean and cheese burritos! We’ll board the boat for the trip out to Mag Bay- a 2 to 3 hour journey which will be punctuated by some of the most beautiful and surreal scenery imaginable. This part of the Sea of Cortez is completely wild with very few divers, no commercial fishing, the odd sport fishing boat and a vast and abundant pristine, underwater wilderness.
Out here you never know what you will see when you dip your head below the surface. Common sightings and subjects of many breathtaking photos are orcas, mako sharks, silkies, smooth hammerheads, grey, humpback and blue whales, sea lions- and the highlight- the striped marlins. And it’s a birder’s paradise, as well!
We spend the day following the birds, which in turn, follow the bait balls being mustered up by the hunting predators beneath the surface. When a ball is spotted, our skillful captain drops us in its path to shoot what will come. When it does come, we are rewarded to sights that few will get to see!
Four days are spent on the boat like this, hunting the hunters, in hopes of getting that perfect shot or sequence- never knowing what bounty the ocean will bring, but rarely being disappointed. The days are long, physically demanding and mentally taxing, but the challenge is rewarded!
Next stop on the Baja trip is another few hours journey to the southern tip of Baja California. This sleepy little community hides some of the world’s best scuba diving. The waters are clear, cool and packed with schooling fish of all sorts.
Our bungalows are cute, quaint and secure, and the few local restaurants serve up great food at a good price. If the weather is clear, we walk to the outskirts of this little village, which has virtually no light pollution, to shoot the night sky. The Milky Way at night, shot with a slow shutter speed is truly spectacular!
The next 2 days bring us a six dives to the famous local sites where we are in search of the MANY bull sharks, massive snappers, jacks, pods of dolphins and close encounters with sea lions.
Though the days are packed with adventure, dives to the very limits of our dive computers and colder waters, they feel like a virtual walk in the park after the Magdalena Bay leg of our trip!
Back to La Paz
Next is a trip back to La Paz where we will check into a nice beachside hotel and immediately prep for a spectacular night dive with the schooling mobula rays and the sea lions. This will be our last dive together on this trip, so of course, we will have a celebratory tequila or two to round things off!
Facts and Top Tips for Baja Expeditions
Power: 127V 60 Hz. If in doubt, bring a universal adapter/power converter
Water Temp: 23-25C (73-77F). Be aware that there may be cold-water currents. A 5mm or good-fitting 3mm full length wetsuit is a must. A wind-breaker or wet/dry neoprene jacket is very useful for the boats in case the wind picks up.
Air Temp: 16C- 28C (66-82F). Don’t be fooled. Just because it’s Mexico doesn’t mean that it will be hot and sunny all the time. November/December can be cool in this temperate zone. Bring warm clothes which can lift your spirits after some long days at sea.
Visa: For most countries a 60 day tourist visa for Mexico is granted on arrival. However, you should double-check online before booking your flights.
Currency: Mexican Peso. ATM’s are widely available throughout the country. However, you will need to bring cash with you for the Cabo Pulmo leg of the trip. Up until a few years ago, visitors were only sleeping in tents and campervans!
Language: Spanish, but most people working within the tourism industry in Mexico have at least a basic fluency in English.
People: Mexico is an ethnically diverse country with many descendants of Native American tribes as well as settlers from a variety of different countries throughout the world. But they all have one thing in common- they love to have fun and enjoy a good fiesta!
Marlin Expedition FAQs
The southern region of Baja is the safest part of Mexico. Safer than the most touristy cities such as Cancun in Yucatan.
We will only be 6 to 8 in the group and that includes Darius and I as tour leaders. We like to keep it small, so we have more of a family holiday feel!
Every year in October, November and early December in Magdalena Bay we can see a massive amount of Striped Marlins following the bait balls of sardines and mackarels.
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