Spotter Airplane Supported
Mobulas & Orcas

SEASONS

April – Mid-July

8 Days, 7 Nights

TYPES OF ADVENTURES

Liveaboard

PRICING (pp. dbl occ.)

Luxury Liveaboards: From US$4,000

Whole Boat Charter Available

Destination Overview

Spotter Airplane Supported
Mobulas & Orcas

Orcas? Really? Yes and with a lot more to this adventure than mobula rays and orcas.

From January onwards and with the help of our spotter airplane, we see blue whales, fin-back and humpback whales in the southern Sea of Cortez.

By April we often observe solitary and often heavily pregnant whale sharks. We always see and are usually able to get in the water with huge pods of dolphins, enormous aggregations of mobula rays that can number in the tens of thousands at night.

As the season progresses and the water warms up, we typically start seeing pilot whales and cow nose rays. Of course the star of the show is the orcas (killer whales) and unique behaviour in which they chose to interact with our snorkelers and swimmers.

Interact with the whales and the mobulas

We aren’t talking about whale watching but rather orcas that choose to come in and interact in-water with our guests on the whales’ own terms. Orcas are highly intelligent and curious apex predators and the interaction is friggin amazing and occurred on 78% of our 2022 liveaboard expeditions.

Accommodation is onboard either our 116-ft expedition yacht or 45-ft sailing catamaran and you can have a fine time onboard watching all the action from your yacht. But for those who are comfortable in the water and have at least a moderate level of fitness, you can’t beat heading out in one of our fast boats to spend hours at a time with the animals.

Interaction is always respectful and on the animals own terms. You can expect to be in the water with the rays, any whale sharks that swim by, dolphins, inquisitive and interactive orcas and possibly the fin back whales.

There is nowhere other than the chilly waters of Norway where orcas routinely interact with humans like this. That’s Baja!!

INSIDER TIP: at the end of March and early April it’s possible to overlap a San Ignacio Lagoon gray whale expedition with a mobula and orca cruise for an amazing combo.

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Sample Itinerary

Sample Itinerary

Fly into SJD. Cabo. Expedition yacht might leave from Cabo or La Paz. Sailing catamaran leaves from La Paz.

Day 1

Complimentary backscatter photo and video workshop at SeeCreatures Cabo San Lucas. Either 5 pm meet and board in Cabo or mid-afternoon transfer to La Paz.

Day 2

We always start off at our favourite hotspot for masses of mobula rays leaping for joy first thing in the morning because, well it’s really fun! Our airplane will be in the air scouting for orcas and other big critters and our naturalist will be in touch with friends up and down Baja to trade notes on animal sightings. We have been on the water running charters since 1974 and have a large network of colleagues that work together with us. Your captain will be in comm’s with your pilot for the latest updates and we will fire up the fast boat during the day to get close to any big animals. Cocktail hour. Sunset. Dinner. Evening presentation!

Days 3 – 7

The local corumel wind tends to start blowing every evening until 10:30 a.m. or so. Shore hikes, kayaking or scuba will be on offer in the morning. With our airplane taking off when the corumel wind dies down as critter spotting is very difficult when it’s choppy. We will spend the rest of the day trying to get you the best encounters possible within the bounds of the utmost respect for the animals.

Day 8

Breakfast and disembarkation around 8:30. Complimentary coach transfer back to SJD if you are in La Paz.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Will we see orcas on these trips?

Yes, our pilot tells us that there is a 40% probability of seeing orcas on any particular day.  We’ll be searching hard for them. Multiply this by five days and the odds are in our favour. Our expert pilot and master aerial spotter will scan the seas from above and maximise your time with this magnificent migration.

Will you be able to get in the water with the orcas? Yes. Noting that to be in compliance with federal regulations, we can put you in the water when we see the orcas.  It’s up to the orcas to come in and check you out.  In our experience, you will likely have to do multiple “jumps” before the orcas will relax and come in for a close look at you. Otherwise, the Sea of Cortez is a pelagic paradise, and you might also come across huge pods of dolphins, sperm and fin whales and even whale sharks.

Are orcas guaranteed?

Every mobula ray tour is different. Sometimes we might get right onto a huge school of mobulas surrounded by orcas and everyone will have an amazing time.  On other trips, we might have to work really hard to find the really big schools of mobulas and to locate the orcas. We’ll have three days of aerial spotting (weather and flying conditions permitting) on every trip, and we know the orcas will be in the general area between Cabo Pulmo and Los Islotes.

The Gallant Lady is the perfect expedition yacht for this with a giant crows nest that towers high over the boat, seating for four and steering controls for the captain.  It’s as if the ship was built specifically for spotting mobulas and orcas. If we have trouble getting on orcas, we will call in air support from La Paz for additional help. At Nautilus and Baja Expeditions we try to cover all the bases and have our own ultralight spotting aircraft.

When will we be able to get in the water?

Most snorkelling and freediving will be done either from our 32-foot-high speed aluminum hulled “zodiac style” RHIB or even from the large water level platform at the stern (that’s the back end) of your yacht. You can count on a couple of evening snorkels in a quiet bay with underwater lights and, hopefully, swarming mobulas. But you can spend as much time as you want in the water.

What other wildlife will we see?

We’ll be on the lookout for large pods of dolphins and of course, you will have the opportunity to jump with those guys as well.  To be frank, you never quite know what amazing animals you might see in the Sea of Cortez and we’ll be keeping a sharp lookout for sperm and fin whales and whale sharks. Noting that the famous whale shark conservation area at Mogote is closed to visitors at this time of year.

What is included in the trip?

Accommodation, all meals (continental breakfast, breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert), non-alcoholic beverages and snacks, daily room service, towels and onboard facilities such as the hot tub and lounge…  and lots of fun!

Exclusions: 5% tax, bar, gift shop, crew gratuities, internet access, $65 port fee, and foreign tourist tax for non-residents of Mexico.

Operated For Safety

Operated For Safety

Safety is a very serious business. Mother Ocean can be capricious and unforgiving. We hold ourselves to the highest standards and you should expect and demand no less. In our view, every dive boat should be operated within a certified ISM safety management system, outfitted with sprinklers, emergency smoke hoods for everybody and the same safety, fire, life saving equipment and radios as the largest cruise ships. Captains, mates and engineers should have professional commercial mariner qualifications and all crew should have STCW professional mariner certification. Safety is not something to publish in a brochure. It’s part of our DNA. A cornerstone of our culture. Something that we have been living by for every day of the last 30 years.

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Get Inspired!

Get Inspired

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