Striped Marlins Hunting Sardines and Best of Baja Diving

Baja Magdalena Bay Trip Report

Trip Report 2021

After a wonderful trip to Baja this November, I would like to thank all of the guests for making this a wonderful trip with great memories and images for everyone. Also working hard to make this a successful, safe, and fun trip were Leonardo, the boat crews, captains, and hotel staff.

striped marlin Baja Mexico
hunting bait balls Baja Mexico
Magdalena Bay sardine run
striped marling and bait balls Baja

A Baja Dive & Snorkel Safari

We plan our trip for early to mid-November which is the peak of the season when a magical event happens in the nutrient rich swirling blue waters off Magdalena Bay, near San Carlos Baja Mexico; the striped marlin gather to hunt on the second largest sardine run in the world. This thrilling underwater action is spectacular with many species taking part in the feeding frenzy.  There is an excellent chance of seeing California sea lions, dolphin, pelicans, different species of gulls, frigate bird and albatross.

  With my cohost Leonardo we have picked the best captains and nice hotels that are relaxing for after the long days outdoors. We have discovered some nice hotels and special wild places to visit for short land based walks to witness the spectacular scenery.

Nature

Baja is a wildlife treasure trove both underwater and above.  After the drama of the sardine run at Magdalena Bay, we travel to La Paz to dive with the crazy active and funny sea lions.  We also do a special night dive with mobula rays swirling in the dark feeding.  We spend our last days at Cabo Pulmo National Park for its pristine reefs full of mega schools of jacks in torando formations and the chance of an encounter with dolphins or bull sharks.  Our adventure in Baja is just a taste of all the wonderful wildlife and natural spaces this area has to offer. It inspires me to keep coming back and to find new adventures to share with you.

Favorite Moments

One moment I will remember from this trip is seeing the awe in the faces of my guests as they realize the diversity of marine life and scenery present in the Baja peninsula.  Many never expected the amount and variety of marine species.  We encountered Humpback Whales, fin whales, dolphins, and turtles in addition to the species we expected.  We used our dry land time to explore parks, dunes, and scenic overlooks each one dazzling in its beauty.  Baja is constantly surprising visitors with its beauty and range of wildlife.  It is a destination in many seasons. 

La Paz scenic bay
Scenic overlook at La Paz
Dunes Baja Mexico
Magdalena Bay Striped Marlin
Magdalena Bay
diving at Cabo Pulmo Baja Mexico
Launching boats at Cabo Pulmo

Another favorite thing about Baja is the talent of the captain and crew. It takes knowledge, experience, and patience to find the bait balls below the surface and they never fail to act professionally and deliver us what we came to see.

The sardines were running very strong this year so we had many good encounters. What is special about Baja and why I love to bring people here is that their is so much wildlife and you are going to have encounters that get people excited. Every guests was very pleased and many had their expectations well exceeded.

Equipment and Cameras

A typical boat at Mag Bay or Cabo Pulmo

On this trip you will want a wetsuit with some warmth, but yet one comfortable for the swimming and snorkeling at Magdalena Bay.  I use my full length 3mm suit and add a hood vest as needed. 

Longer fins a good to have if you can get them in your luggage and are used to using them. 

For my cameras:  I do not use strobes for the Striped Marlin and keep my rig as small and streamline as possible to help with the swimming.  I bring strobes to use while scuba diving at la Paz for sea lions and at Cabo Pulmo National Park

pelican feeding Baja
Before leaving the harbor we take some time to photograph pelicans, it is also something to do if the water is too rough to go out right away

I favor my EF16- 35mm F 2.8 lens.  If I can have a second lens it would be a fish eye.  A wide or general lens is also good to have to capture the beautiful dry land vistas and wild areas.

Like many of my guests, I have a GoPro strapped to my camera housing.  But also use the video capture of my Canon camera.

Join Me for My Next Baja, Mexico Adventure

Next year I will again return in peak marlin season.  I will offer the full Sardine Run + diving itinerary but will  also add  a second option of just the striped marlin at Magdalena Bay.  It will be possible for guests to do both itineraries and double up on the marlin & bait balls action.

Hope to see you there next year!

https://gregorysweeney.com/trips/trip_baja.html