Sea of Cortez, Mexico

Mobula Rays and Orcas

May 14 to 21, 2022
Cost: $4,200 to $4,700
Leader: Scott Davis
Group Size: 11
Days: 8

Safari Overview

Sail the Sea of Cortez for an unparalleled in-water experience snorkeling and freediving with the flying mobula ray and, potentially, predatory pods of orcas. The Sea of Cortez is home to many different and exciting migrations of megafauna, including the iconic mobula ray (Mobula munkiana). From mid-May to July, thousands of mobula rays congregate in the waters from Cabo San Lucas to La Paz. You will track the movement of the migration via aircraft to maximize wildlife encounters, while keeping an eye out for huge pods of dolphins, acrobatically breaching mobulas, and even the possibility of sperm and fin whales. Immerse yourself in all that the Sea of Cortez has to offer!

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Spend five days in water with the exhilarating, acrobatic mobula ray.
  • Snorkel or dive the Cabo Pulmo World Heritage Biosphere Reserve.
  • Spend the week aboard the luxury vessel, Gallant Lady, with gourmet cuisine and lavish accommodations.

Itinerary Updated: June 2021



Ship Info FAQ Print Trip
Date Description Lodge Meals
May 14 Arrive in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Board the ship in the evening and set sail for Cabo Pulmo. On board the Gallant Lady D
May 15-19 Spend 5 days in the water for two hours at a time, in groups of six with mobula ray congregations, and, fingers crossed, orcas. On board the Gallant Lady B, L, D
May 20 Dive or snorkel the Cabo Pulmo World Heritage Biosphere Reserve. Sail back to Cabo San Lucas. On board the Gallant Lady B, L, D
May 21 Disembark and fly home. B

Our Trip Leaders

Scott Davis

Scott is a professional photographer specializing in wildlife, nature, and travel. Originally trained as a wildlife and marine biologist, his research and photo assignments have taken him to the far corners of the globe and all seven continents. National Geographic, BBC, Animal Planet, NY Times, and renowned magazines have used his photography. His patience for teaching and love of capturing the essence of his subjects make him one of our most popular tour leaders.

Detailed Itinerary

A glimpse into our journey

Fly to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

May 14

On arrival in Cabo San Lucas, transfer to the SeeCreatures Dive Center for gear fittings before boarding the ship. In the evening, you will board the Gallant Lady and enjoy a welcome dinner as you set sail for the Sea of Cortez.

Snorkeling with mobulas and orcas

May 15-19

Orcas
© Nautilus Dive Adventures

From mid-May to July thousands of mobula rays come together in the Sea of Cortez to feed and, although we are still trying to learn more about these fascinating creatures, scientists think that they come to find mates. Spend five days in the water with huge congregations of mobula rays, during the peak season. To protect these special rays, you will have the opportunity for multiple in-water encounters for periods of two hours at a time in groups of six. On your first full sea day, you can have a free diving lesson, kayak, or try your skills with stand-up paddleboards. Learning to free dive will enrich your experience, so when you dive you are more likely surrounded by mobula rays. For at least two days of the trip, an aircraft will assist in aerial spotting to help maximize your encounters with the mobula rays and, hopefully, orcas who follow these congregations to feed on them. You will even have the chance to snorkel at night with huge groups of mobula rays coming to feed on the plankton exposed by the ship lights, providing a spectacular show against the inky ocean. If you’re a certified diver, we can also arrange a night dive.

SCUBA or snorkel at Cabo Pulmo

May 20

Spend your last full day diving or snorkeling at Cabo Pulmo World Heritage Biosphere Reserve, the northernmost coral reef in the eastern Pacific. After the successful preservation of Cabo Pulmo in 2009, the coral reef is once again home to over 6,000 species of fish. Enjoy your final group dinner under the stars as you sail back to Cabo San Lucas.

Disembark and fly home

May 21

Disembark in the morning and transfer to the airport for your flights home.

Mobulas and Orcas

Sail the Sea of Cortez for an unparalleled in-water experience snorkeling and freediving with the flying mobula ray and, potentially,…

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Ship Information

The Gallant Lady

The 12-passenger 116-ft Gallant Lady combines the luxury of a yacht with the thoughtful design of a dive deck. She has a steel hull and superstructure, sea stabilizers, and is International Safety Management (ISM) certified. Equipped with one 32-ft, high speed aluminum hulled “Zodiac style” inflatable boat, 6 passengers can be in the water at a time. Cabins feature windows and/or portholes, air conditioning, and private bathrooms with showers, and you can stay connected via Wi-Fi Internet.

Imaginative and fresh cuisine is proudly served. Soups are handmade, and bread, pastries, and desserts are baked on board. Food is plentiful with ample snacks and up to four meals per day with a choice of entrees.

After a full day of exploring, soak under the stars in the hot tub or relax in the main dining and entertainment center, which features comfy couches, tables, a well-stocked bar, and select evening video showings, presentations, and slide shows.


More Information
The Gallant Lady © David Serradell Zamora

Cost & Payments

Costs (in US$)

Type Description Cost Per Person
Superior Suite Double occupancy, with one quasi-king-sized bed or two full-sized beds, picture windows, air conditioning, dresser, and private bath. On Main Deck. (Rosario, Nautilus) $4,200
Superior Suite Double occupancy, with one quasi-king-sized bed or two full-sized beds (Swell, Dofleini), two twin-sized beds (Indie), porthole windows, air conditioning, wardrobe or dresser, and private bath. On Lower Deck. (Dofleini, Swell, Indie) $4,200
Premium Suite Double occupancy, with one quasi-king-sized bed or two full-sized beds, porthole windows, air conditioning, dresser, and private bath. On Lower Deck. (Emerald) $4,700

Costs are per person, double occupancy, depending on cabin type, not including airfare, singles extra. See Included and Not Included sections for more details.

If you are a single traveler, we will find a roommate for you, but if we cannot find you a roommate, we will not charge you a single supplement.

We cannot guarantee a specific cabin, but if changes occur, we will assign a cabin of equal or greater value.


Payment Schedule

Payment Due Date Amount Per Person
Deposit Due now to reserve your space $500
Second Payment September 15, 2021 $1,500
Final Payment January 15, 2022 Remaining balance

Payments will be due based on the schedule above. All reservations require a deposit to confirm reservation of your space.


Cancellations

Refunds are given depending on the time left before departure according to the following table. The cancellation fee of $300 per person can be applied toward another tour if reserved within six months of the cancelled trip’s departure date. Cancellations are non-transferrable.

Dates Forfeited Amount per Person
On or before November 14, 2021 $300
November 15 to December 14, 2021 10% of trip cost
December 15, 2021 to January 14, 2022 40% of trip cost
On or after January 15, 2022 100% of trip cost

Included

  • All leaders, transport, park entry fees, and permits for all activities unless described as optional.
  • Meals from dinner on May 14 through breakfast on May 21.
  • Seven nights aboard the Gallant Lady.
  • Non-alcoholic beverages while aboard the Gallant Lady.
  • Port fee of $65 per person.
  • DVD of photos and videos taken while on board.
  • Trip Materials – information about flights, packing, entry and departure requirements, airport transfers, gratuities, etc.

Not Included

  • All airfare, airport and departure taxes, and excess baggage fees. Round-trip airfare is approximately $300 to $750 between the US and Cabo, depending on origin.
  • Passport and visa fees.
  • Transfers from the San Jose Del Cabo Airport to the SeeCreatures Dive Center on May 14 and from the marina to the San Jose Del Cabo Airport on May 21.
  • Gratuities – tipping is always discretionary. However, we suggest budgeting about $250 to $350 total per participant for the ship crew.
  • Rental gear (wetsuit, mask, booties, fins, and diving gear). We will send you more details about rentals in the Trip Materials.
  • Mandatory dive insurance. For more information see travel insurance.
  • Optional trip cancellation insurance. For more information see travel insurance.
  • Items of a personal nature such as laundry, telephone calls, medical costs or hospitalization, room service, alcoholic beverages, items not on the regular menu, etc. If you have special dietary needs, please indicate them on your Reservation Form.

Climate

May air temperatures, on the Sea of Cortez, range from the mid-80s to 90s°F (26 to 32°C) during the day with island breezes, and can drop to 68 to 75°F (19 to 23°C) at night. Water temperatures average in the mid-70s°F (22°C).

Fitness Level

Minimal fitness is required to join this trip, but your fitness and snorkeling ability enrich the experience. Getting in the water is not required; we’ve shared other in-water trips with travelers who had wonderful experiences watching the wildlife from the ship. At minimum, you need to comfortably and safely move around the ship and embark/disembark from the Zodiacs. To get the most out of this trip, you should be comfortable in the water, snorkeling, and getting in and out of the water via a boat ladder. Please contact us if you don’t have experience snorkeling but would like to join this trip, and plan to spend time swimming at a pool or similar before your trip to make sure you are comfortable in water. Strong swimming ability and the ability to free dive (i.e., dive underwater without SCUBA tanks) are not required, but will also enrich your experience, especially to let the mobula rays swim around you.

Flights

Airfare is not included in trip costs. Detailed logistical information and the contact information for our recommended flight-ticketing agent are included in the Trip Materials we will send you. Please let us know if you are arriving earlier or staying later as we are happy to assist you with any extra overnights that you might want to arrange.

Flights you (or a travel agent) book: Arrive in San Jose Del Cabo, Baja California Sur, Mexico (SJD) a day early on May 13, but no later than 1:00pm on May 14. Depart from San Jose Del Cabo, Baja California Sur, Mexico (SJD) after 12:00pm on May 21.

FAQ

Do I have to be SCUBA certified for this safari?

This trip focuses on snorkeling, with only one to two opportunities to SCUBA dive during the trip, so you do not need a SCUBA certification to enjoy lots of time with the mobula rays. You will have an opportunity to dive at the Cabo Pulmo World Heritage Biosphere Reserve. If you are not certified, but want to dive at Cabo Pulmo, you should get SCUBA certified before this trip. The best resources to find SCUBA certification courses near you are: PADI and NAUI.

Accommodations

Seasickness

Don’t let a fear of seasickness scare you away! For all but the most sensitive, seasickness is rarely a problem in this region. It’s a good idea to bring medication if you get seasick or are unsure, but you may find that you do not need it after a couple days once you have your “sea legs.” Even those who have experienced seasickness reported that the incredible wildlife and overall experience were well worth the temporary discomfort. Read our suggestions for coping with seasickness and contact us if you have any concerns.

Transportation

Conditions

Read our current Terms and Conditions.