Cruise Line Adds Photography- And Biology-Themed Sailings

Photography And Biology

Travelers can know more about biology and photography by sourcing knowledge in a variety of ways. Online research leads to entire websites devoted to teaching us both. Locally, area colleges and universities will have lab-grade biology experiences as well as hands-on classes on photography for all ages and abilities.

Still, nothing quite beats the thrill of capturing an image of a bear in the wilderness.

This winter, adventure travelers into marine biology or photography can choose a themed cruise catering to their interests aboard 36-guest Safari Explorer or 86-guest Safari Endeavour. InnerSea Discoveries and sister-line American Safari Cruises has added themes to ten Un-Cruise sailings in the Hawaiian Islands and Mexico’s Sea of Cortés.

“Themes bring together people with common interests and adds one more benefit for booking these dates,” said Tim Jacox, executive vice president of sales and marketing.

Themed cruises come in every shape and size, bringing together like-minded travelers to spend up-close and personal time with a star of their shared addiction.

The new Un-Cruise photography- and marine biology-themed cruises come with an expert guest host along for the ride. Special presentations will be held on the ship or ashore and passengers are free to interact with the host throughout the voyage.

Kids in Nature departures are for families traveling with kids 12 and younger. The expedition team gears the program to a variety of ages and activity levels with a focus on educating. Hiking excursions, kayaking trips, skiff explorations and snorkeling all provide hands-on learning in a fun environment. Active explorations in nature and wildlife sightings engage all ages.

2013 Theme Cruises in Hawaii
Jan 5 – Photography and Whales with Flip Nicklin, highly-regarded whale photographer.
March 9 and 30 – Kids in Nature, a focus on spring break departures for the whole family.
April 6 – Photography with professional photographer/world traveler Peter West Carey.

2013 Theme Cruises in the Sea of Cortés
Jan 12 – Marine Biology with La Paz resident Rodrigo Rocha Gosselin, a local with passion about conservation and nature.
Feb 16 – David Julian, a 30-year veteran professional photographer.
March 16 – Ellen Barone, traveler, freelance writer and photographer.
March 30 – Marine Biology with Giovanni Malagrino, an oceanologist and professor of marine biology.
March 9 and 23 – Kids in Nature, spring break departures for the whole family.

Safari Explorer sails seven-night cruises between Hawaii, the Big Island and Lana’i with two days of activities on Moloka’i. Flexible yacht itineraries focus on explorations of four islands: Lana’i, Moloka’i, Maui and Hawaii.

Safari Endeavour sails Luxury Adventures round trip to La Paz, Baja, Mexico. While the sailing may be themed, an unstructured itinerary explores hideaways such as Isla Espíritu Santo, Isla San Francisco, Bahia Agua Verde, Los Islotes and Loreto.

In the Hawaiian Islands and the Sea of Cortés, guests can be as active as they like and activities include trekking, kayaking, paddle boarding, snorkeling and skiff excursions. On-board naturalists provide interpretation on guided excursions ashore and at sea. The unstructured itinerary allows time for viewing wildlife such as whales and dolphins.

Sound like fun? Passengers aboard the Safari Explorer got the opportunity to jump in and swim with a whale shark last week as we see in this video:


[Photo Credit- Flickr user FelixR]

Mexico tourism adds environmentalists to list of foes

MexicoMexico gets bad press for a number of reasons causing travelers to use extra caution when visiting south of the border. Attractions, like UNESCO biosphere sites along the Baja California Peninsula, draw travelers but a newly thriving coral reef is under threat from a mega-development planned for the area, adding environmentalists to Mexico tourism’s list of foes.

In Cabo Pulmo, Mexico, the shallow reef was a typical degraded reef 17 years ago that had been damaged by commercial boats dragging their anchors through the coral to get at valuable species that lived there.

“We started noticing there were fewer fish, and we were having to go farther out,” says Judith Castro, a local commercial fisherman. “We just saw the reef as a garden. We didn’t know the importance of it.”

Aided by local residents, the economy was gradually transformed from fishing to ecotourism, and the amount of life on the reef blossomed, increasing by 460 percent.

Now, a new sprawling project would transform the sleepy little village of Cabo Pulmo into a major tourist destination with about 30,000 hotel rooms, golf courses and a marina on a strip of seaside desert about a 90-minute drive northeast of the Los Cabos resorts.Opposing the project, The World Wildlife Fund recently brought schoolchildren bearing the flags of 70 countries to present almost 13,000 signatures from around the world asking President Felipe Calderon to cancel permits for construction at the site.

“It is unique, not only in Mexico, but in the world,” says Omar Vidal, the head of the WWF in Mexico. “It is a nursery for marine species to repopulate many areas of the Gulf of California.”

Mexico is a land rich in natural beauty and wonderful places to visit, making the country still one of the most visited in the world. Of course, this means tourism is an important part of the economy. At a time when cruise lines have canceled stops at Mexican ports and an updated US Department of State Travel Warning does not help matters, a new tourist destination is going to be awfully hard for Mexico’s government to pass up as it weighs its options.

Visit Los Cabos, Mexico




Flickr photo by NOAA’s National Ocean Service