From the National Geographic Sea Bird in Baja California
Jan 27, 2013 - National Geographic Sea Bird
The light fog was described as “romantic” this morning by Paula’s soft voice awakening us from a fitful night’s sleep. Flat waters, cool air, a barely perceptible shoreline. Our enchantment with Baja California began this morning veiled in the mist in Magdalena Bay.
Sinking ankle-deep in the waterlogged sands, we came ashore for our morning exploration. Red Mangrove seedlings, looking like anorexic bowling pins littered the high tide line. A multitude of animal tracks crisscrossed the undulating maze of dunes. Delicate beetle tracks looked like miniature train tracks, only this train had six legs and was maybe ½ inch wide. Shorebirds had strolled through the dunes as well, leaving tiny three-pointed star stencils. The flowers of ground cherry, evening primrose, sand verbena, and milkweed decorated the more stabilized dunes.
Washed up on the Pacific side we found a dolphin skull and vertebrae, as well as a sea turtle carapace. We found out how much fun you could have with a dead fish as we posed pictures feigning fright as a killer fish came at us from above.
For the afternoon, cruising north looking for coyotes, burros, shore birds and, as we approached the town of Puerto Adolfo Lopez Mateos, gray whales! Small poofs of breath illuminated in the afternoon sun as they suspended temporarily mid-air. A light breeze dispersed them into oblivion. These ephemeral mists were our markers for finding our first whales. Long narrow-gray islands splotched with white were the backs of the whales as they emerged from the water, and then slowly slipped back under. Giant, clear lily pad-footprints marked the direction of travel as they languidly swam away.
The sun set behind Isla Magdalena and we ended our day satisfied to find numerous gray whales swimming about our anchorage, and anxious for our adventures of the morning. A wonderful start to our romance with Baja California.