The Sea of Cortez, also known as the Gulf of California, is a 160,000km2 body of water lying between the Baja California Peninsula and the states of Sonora and Sinaloa on the Mexican mainland. With only 5 million years of age, it is thought to be the youngest sea on Earth. As severe volcanic activity and tectonic plate movements created and tore away the Baja Peninsula from Mexico, the Pacific Ocean rushed in to fill what became the Sea of Cortez. Great currents and severe changes in the depth contour make this Sea one of the richest and naturally diverse of the planet, which is why Jacques Cousteau labelled it the “Aquarium of the World”.
Use this map to get an idea of where you could go
Known for its impressive volcanic coastline, similar to the desert and the rich of its marine environment, the Sea of Cortez is a UNESCO World Heritage site that is home to a third of the mammalian and cetacean species of our oceans , and offers a unique setting to observe wonderful creatures such as Mobula rays, humpback, grey and possibly blue whales and whale sharks. We will do our best to help you spot some!
We do most of our exploration on the Baja side, as this is where we find most of the islands that make up the Gulf Islands National Park, including many species endemic to these islands and the possibility to observe beautiful marine mammals and birds. The scenery is also stunning here, with volcanic remnants covered by millions of years of sedimentation and tectonic action.
The conditions in the Sea of Cortez are otherwise great for sailing, with winds between 10 and 25 knots being common throughout the year. Land and sea breezes play an important role in cruising as well as anchoring, with night winds, especially in the areas affected by “Coromuels” and “Elefantes”, usually blowing from the West. During the winter and spring, a northerly wind is funneled between the mountainous backbone of the peninsula and the Mexican mainland, locally referred to as the “Norte” and which can be quite fierce if caught unprepared. In the following screen from Windy.com, you can get an idea of the current and forecasted wind strength and temperatures for the Sea of Cortez.