*This trip is sold out. *

Voyage I:   January 17th through 25th, 2015

Voyage II:  January 26th through February 3rd, 2015

The Trips

On two successive voyages, led by Gary Schwarzman ’66 and Perry Mason, the John E. Sawyer Professor of Philosophy and Liberal Learning, Emeritus, we will spend seven days exploring the coves and islands of the Sea of Cortez (Voyage I) and then,  after briefly returning to La Paz, will set sail (Voyage II) for a seven-day cruise along the eastern coast of lower Baja California, arriving at the town of San Jose del Cabo near the southern tip of the peninsula. Participants may sign on to either Voyage, or both.

Baja California is the land that John Steinbeck described as possessing “profound and unworldly beauty.”  Desert scenery, sport fishing, and fine beaches, together with convenient access from California, have made Baja California a popular destination for both tourists and retirees from the north.  Our plan is to avoid the tourist hot spots and sail to uninhabited islands and fishing villages not reached by highways.

The Sea of Cortez (or, less romantically, the Gulf of California) separates the peninsula of Baja California from the Mexican mainland.  This is one of the most ecologically diverse seas on the planet, and we will probably see whales, dolphins, rays, and sea lions, as well as such birds as the blue-footed booby and the magnificent frigate bird.  (That’s its official name, honest!)

John Steinbeck’s The Log from the Sea of Cortez will be our touchstone for thinking about and discussing our cruises, the region, its flora and fauna, and its inhabitants.  Perry Mason will be leading that exploration.

We will be a small group on each voyage, just 11 in all, so we can tailor our other activities to peoples’ wishes.  Hiking, geology, bird watching, snorkeling, and even celestial navigation are possibilities, as well as time on the beach.

Our explorations will be aboard the sailing schooner Seaward, a graceful 82-foot steel sailing ship (details below.)   For those who would like, there will be plenty of opportunity to steer the ship, to help set and trim the sails, and to share in other activities involved in cruising on such a vessel.  The nav station is open to everyone, with its charts and instruments, and the skipper and crew will be eager to explain both the operations of the vessel and navigation.

Trip Leaders

Perry Mason, the John E. Sawyer Professor of Philosophy and Liberal Learning, Emeritus, at Carleton will be leading discussions of Steinbeck’s The Log from the Sea of Cortez.  Gary Schwarzman ‘66, trip organizer, will be offering expertise in navigation, seamanship and yarns from decades of voyaging under sail.  When not off on Carleton Alumni Adventures, both Perry and Gary sail their own boats.

Itineraries

You can sign on for either voyage or both:

Voyage I:  Beginning and ending in the historic small city of La Paz, Baja California Sur, we’ll spend part of each day underway and anchor each evening at some island or cove in the Bay of La Paz.

Voyage II:  Departing from La Paz, we’ll cruise coastwise about 125 nautical miles to San Jose del Cabo, stopping each night at a Baja cove or island anchorage, such as Isla Espiritu Santo, Ensenada de los Muertos, and Bahia los Frailes.  Along the way is the national marine park Pulmo Reef, the only hard coral reef in the Sea of Cortez, which offers one of the best concentrations of wildlife in Baja.  

We have scheduled these two voyages to maximize our chances of pleasant weather, but rough seas are a possibility.  Participants do not need to be especially fit, but should be able to climb between the ship’s deck and the small boat for going ashore.  This is roughly equivalent to climbing a 6-foot vertical ladder.

Voyage I:

Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015.  Arrive La Paz.  Group dinner that evening.

Sunday, Jan. 18.  After a group breakfast, board the Schooner Seaward.  Meet the captain and crew, receive an orientation, and stow your bag.  Then we set sail.

Sunday-Saturday, Jan. 18-24 .  Explore the Sea of Cortez.  The islands offer fine beaches, excellent snorkeling, and colonies of sea lions.  We often sight dolphins, rays, and whales.  Between anchorages you are welcome to help sail the schooner, or just relax.

Saturday, Jan. 24.  Return to La Paz.  Bid farewell to the schooner and transfer to the hotel for a shower and a rest, or explore the historic city of La Paz before a final group dinner.

Sunday, Jan. 25.  If you are not staying for Voyage II, then either transfer to the airport for the flight home or stay longer to explore Baja California, as you wish.  (Rental cars are reasonably priced, and destinations such as Todos Santos and Magdalena Bay are feasible day trips.)

Voyage II:

Monday, Jan. 26, 2015.  Arrive La Paz.  Group dinner that evening.

Tuesday, Jan. 27.  After a group breakfast, board the Schooner Seaward.  Meet the captain and crew, receive an orientation and stow your bag.  Then we set sail.

Tuesday-Monday, Jan. 27-Feb. 2.  Depart La Paz aboard Schooner Seaward, cruise coastwise about 125 nautical miles to San Jose del Cabo, stopping each night at a Baja cove or island anchorage, such as Isla Espiritu Santo, Ensenada de los Muertos, and Bahia de los Frailes.

Monday, Feb. 2   Arrive San Jose del Cabo.  Bid farewell to the schooner and transfer to the hotel for a shower and a rest, or explore the town before a final group dinner.

Tuesday, Feb. 3  Transfer to the airport for the flight home, or stay longer in Mexico, as you wish.

Pricing

Voyage I:  January 17-25, 2015
Capacity: 9
Cost:  $ 1,775 per person (plus airfare)

Voyage II:  January 26 to February 3, 2015
Capacity: 9
Cost: $ 1,775 per person (plus airfare)

Included

  • Hotel stay, first night (La Paz) and last night (La Paz or San Jose del Cabo)
  • Transfers between the hotels and the schooner
  • The sailing trip
  • All meals beginning with dinner on the first night through dinner on the last night of each Voyage
  • For those joining both Voyages, hotel stay in La Paz on Jan. 25  (but meals are on your own until the group dinner on Jan. 26.)

Excluded

  • Transportation from your home to La Paz and back (Voyage I), and transportation from your home to La Paz and from San Jose del Cabo back to your home (Voyage II).
  • Transfers between the airport and our hotel.  You’ll receive a package of information about flights and airport-hotel transfers.
  • Any additional traveling you may wish to do before or after the voyage.

The Ship

Our ship, the schooner Seaward, is owned and operated by Call of the Sea, an educational non-profit based in California.  She is a graceful steel sailing vessel, inspected and certified by the U.S. Coast Guard for voyages up to 200 miles offshore from Alaska to Panama.  She sails under a U.S. Coast Guard licensed professional captain, with an American crew of experienced sailors.

  • Length Overall: 82’
  • Length On Deck: 65’
  • Beam: 17’-6”
  • Draft: 8’-4”
  • Displacement: 65 tons
  • Safety Equipment: Life raft, 406 EPIRB, Radar, VHF radio, SSB radio, AIS, Navtex, and all required Coast Guard safety gear.

Seaward’s interior has the classic elegance of a traditional yacht with a pilot house, well-equipped galley and comfortable saloon.  Accommodations are comfortable but basic, as is customary for such a vessel.  There are no private cabins, but each person has a large single berth with a privacy curtain, reading light, and a place to stow clothing and personal items.

PAYMENT AND REFUND POLICY

A $200 per person deposit is due with registration.  This deposit is non-refundable.

The balance is due by October 31, 2014.

Any cancellation must be made in writing.

Please note: Because we charter the whole schooner for a fixed fee, after October 31, 2014, payments will be refunded only if we can fill the space on the trip. We recommend that you purchase travel insurance, and we’ll send information with registration.

Questions or To Sign Up

You’ll receive a packet of more detailed info when you sign up, but if you have any questions at all, please feel free to contact Gary Schwarzman ‘66 at gschwarzman AT earthlink.net or by phone at 508-540-5432.  [Note: Until August, 20, 2014, Gary will be off sailing in Newfoundland, so email responses may be delayed by a few days, and phone contact will be difficult or impossible.]

Registration will open on Monday, August 18, 2014.  To reserve your spot, please contact Gary Schwarzman ’66 directly as he will be handling registrations.  A deposit check to hold your spot should be made payable to Carleton College, but sent to

Gary Schwarzman
2394 Mariner Square Dr. #113
Alameda, CA 94501