Experience The Largest Ray Aggregation on Earth

Every year tens of thousands of mobula rays visit the coast lines of the Sea of Cortez in Mexico’s Baja California peninsula. The congregations of rays are one of the most incredible spectacles on earth – and one of the largest in the world too. An event so stunning that it has been featured in BBC’s Blue Planet and in numerous National Geographic documentaries.  Imagine diving down into a school of thousands of these beautiful creatures as they soar through the ocean. Witnessing their acrobatics as they jump from the water by the hundreds. Snorkeling above the massive schools as they glide effortlessly through the water in unison. This is Mexico’s Mobula Ray migration.

Join Dive Ninjas as we team up with renowned marine biologist & scientist, Marta Palacios, for this very special series of citizen science expeditions to explore this breathtaking natural wonder..

This is a special limited offer trip with only 6 spaces available per trip. We recommend that you act fast as this trip will sell out quick.  Scroll down for more details on the trip, then register online now to secure your space.  Feel free to contact us at [email protected] or at +1-973-619-9976 with any questions or to reserve your space today.

Watch: Gigantic School of Rays

Check out this incredible clip of possibly the largest school of mobula rays ever filmed! Taken right here in Baja California by National Geographic for their Untamed Americas series!

2020 Citizen Science Expedition Schedule

Below you will find the available dates for our 2020 Mobula Ray Expeditions. Please contact us or click the button below to reserve a date.

2020 Mobula Ray Expedition Dates  Availability
May 16 – 20, 2020 [5 days Citizen Science Expedition] SOLD OUT (Contact for waiting list)
May 22 – 27, 2020 [6 days Private Expedition] SOLD OUT (Contact for waiting list)
May 28 – June 1, 2020 [5 days Citizen Science Expedition] SOLD OUT (Contact for waiting list)
June 4 – 8, 2020 [5 days Citizen Science Expedition] 2 Spaces (Book Now)
June 11-15, 2020 [5 days Citizen Science Expedition] 3 Spaces (Book Now)
June 18-22, 2020 [5 days Citizen Science Expedition] 3 Spaces (Book Now)
June 25-29, 2020 [5 days Citizen Science Expedition] SOLD OUT (Contact for waiting list)

Get Involved

There are 5 species of mobula ray that can be found in the beautiful waters of Baja California. The Munk’s Pygmy devil ray, mobula munkiana, are one of the most sought after because of the gigantic schools they create. These epipelagic rays like their close relatives, the manta rays, are filter feeders that thrive on plankton. But unlike their relative, they have the lowest ability to reproduce out of all elasmobranchs (sharks, rays, & skates). Their delayed reproduction, giving birth to a litter size of only one pup, gestation periods of 12-13 months, and reproductive cycles of 1-3 years means they are extremely vulnerable. They fall victim to targeted small-scale fisheries and industrial fisheries where they appear as bycatch which is leading to population declines worldwide. Despite the threat on their populations, very little information exists on them – stressing the urgency to study the early life stages of devil rays and their habitats.

Our goal of these expeditions is not only to bring you face to face with these beautiful creatures but to explore and find areas where mating activity and schooling events for Mobula munkiana occur. One of the first nurseries ever discovered was recently found in these waters by Marta. Mating and nursery areas are highly correlated for mobula species, therefore finding new mating grounds around this region will allow us to identify possible new nursery areas. These nurseries are critical habitats for the population and with your help we are hoping to discover more and help push for these areas to be protected. You will have the opportunity to get directly involved with research activities that will help us better understand these mobula rays. Your assistance during these expeditions will directly contribute towards conservation efforts to protect these incredible creatures.

Research activities will include surveys of the abundance of rays, a census of possible pregnant females & juveniles in different areas, zooplankton tows & census, surveying microplastics in the water, observing & filming pregnant females, courtship, & mating displays, as well as collecting environmental data and more.  However you are not required to partake in research activities if you do not want to. You are more than welcome to just come along to enjoy being in the water with the schools of mobulas.

diving with mobula rays in sea of cortezdiving with mobula rays in sea of cortez mexico
Marta Palacios, mobula ray expedition Baja California Mexicodiving with Mobula Rays in Baja California Sur, Mexico

What’s The Cost?

40% of all profits from these expeditions are being donated to help fund Marta’s mobula research & conservation work! This is a special limited offer series of citizen science expeditions. Each expedition is 5 days long with a maximum capacity of 6 guests.  The expedition package price is $1850 USD. All prices are per person and on shared double occupancy basis. If you are traveling solo, no problem! We will match you with another solo ninja guest of the same gender. Or if you prefer your own private room a single supplement upgrade is also available for an additional fee.

What’s Included

The trip price includes all in-water activities, citizen science research activities, presentations throughout the week, transfers from Dive Ninjas HQ in Cabo San Lucas to/from our private beachfront accommodation, 4 nights accommodation on a shared double occupancy basis, breakfast, lunch & dinner, snacks, & soft drinks onboard the boat, and all marine park fees. Additionally, for every guest that signs up Dive Ninjas is donating a DNA sample collection kit to test fish meat being sold in local shops around North America so we can help build more data on how mobulas are being sold mislabeled as other fish species in markets & grocery stores.

What’s Not Included

The price does not include flights, transfers from/to airport to/from Dive Ninjas HQ, rental equipment, Crew Gratuity (10%-15% of trip price is customary but is at your discretion),  8% IVA (Mexican sales tax), or credit card processing fees (you may pay via transfer or bank wire without fees).

Anything Else?

Please note that this expedition is not scuba diving based. All the action takes place at the surface so there is no need for scuba equipment. Orcas hunt Mobula Rays by using a form of bubble netting. So the bubbles created from scuba equipment tend to cause the schools to disperse quickly. Additionally, to better preserve the natural behaviors of these animals it is best done as a soft interaction without bubbles and heavy equipment. You do not need to be scuba certified or freediving certified to join these expeditions, but you do need to be comfortable swimming in the open ocean where you can not see the bottom. If you’d like to gain some experience with freediving beforehand we recommend taking a freediving course in Cabo San Lucas the days before the trip with one of our ninja instructors. It’s an awesome way to make the most of your time on the expedition! 

Meet Marta!

Marta D. Palacios is a Marine Biologist with a extensive experience in the study of endangered and lesser known marine species. She earned her Marine Biology degree in the Canary Islands and during that time she had the opportunity to study in the two peninsulas of Mexico. Marta has collaborated in the research of freshwater dolphins in the Amazon, penguins in New Zealand, coral reefs in Indonesia and the diver environmental impact in Ecuador. In a collaboration with Manta Trust and The Charles Darwin Foundation, she studied the Oceanic Manta and Mobula Ray population in the Galapagos Marine Reserve where she realized the urgency of studying these amazing creatures to help in their protection. She moved back to Baja California Sur earning her Masters degree at the Instituto Nacional Politecnico with the identification and habitat use description of the first nursery area for a Mobula species, collaborating with the Monterey Bay Aquarium and  Pelagios Kakunja.

 

Marta Palacios, Mobula Ray biologist
snorkeling with Mobula rays, sea of cortez, Baja California mexico

Flights & Pre-Trip Activities Information

Our meeting point for this expedition is at Dive Ninja Expeditions HQ in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The nearest airport is Los Cabos International Airport (airport code SJD).  Los Cabos International is also known as San Jose del Cabo International Airport by some airlines. Guests will meet at the Dive Ninjas office and be transferred to our accommodation and base camp about 2 hours north of Cabo. Our reservations team can help set up a transfer from the airport to the Dive Ninja HQ for you.  Los Cabos airport is serviced daily with domestic & international flights. We recommend arriving a day early to give you some time to relax and a little padding in case of any travel delays. Easy direct flights can be found from many cities in the US and Mexico. From the US flights are quite cheap – especially from the west coast and southwest US. From Europe flights are very affordable and usually include a layover in the southwest US or Mexico City. If transiting through the US please check in advance to see if you will need a US transit visa.

Since you will be visiting us at our home in Baja California there are numerous options to add on local diving and activities in Los Cabos and the surrounding areas before and after your expedition. Another great option would be to take a freediving course in Los Cabos prior to the trip so that you can get even more out of the experience with the mobulas.  Give us a shout and we can set up add-on packages to extend your trip to Baja.

Watch: Mobula Rays

By BBC One

Expedition Quick Facts:

Meeting Point: Dive Ninjas HQ Cabo San Lucas, BCS MX
Meeting Time: 12pm first day of your trip
Departure Time: 11am last day of the trip
Duration: 5 Days/4 nights
Activity Days:  3 days, sunrise to sunset
Nearest Airport: Los Cabos International (SJD)
Trip Cost: $1850 USD
Min Deposit to Reserve: 40%

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Watch: Gigantic School of Rays | Untamed Americas

By National Geographic