From the National Geographic Sea Bird in Baja California
Feb 8, 2013 - National Geographic Sea Bird
La Florida & Bahia Santa Maria
We spent the night among the great gray whales, anchored in Magdalena Bay. This is one of the three sheltered and protected areas along the Pacific side of the Baja California Peninsula where the gray whales migrate to every winter, and give birth to their babies. They spend 8 to 10 weeks preparing for their long journey north to their feeding grounds.
In the silence of the night, we could hear their blows as they were swimming closer to the ship and coming to the surface to breathe. In the morning, the silver gray clouded sky was illuminated by a bright orange ball of fire as the sun rose above the horizon. The sun disappeared rapidly behind the clouds after a spectacular show and the first group of guests started their journey on board the Zodiacs. Everyone was eager to meet a friendly whale and her baby and see how close they would be privileged to get to the young one. It is totally up to the mother to choose whether to interact with us or simply keep her distance as they swim by the Zodiacs.
Upon the return of the first group of guests, smiles told us that indeed a friendly gray whale and her calf had welcomed them out in the bay, and the hopes and eagerness of the second group of whale watchers were being shared as we took off on our search for the friendly pair.
Soon enough everyone in the Zodiac was on their knees leaning over with stretched out arms as the mother was pushing her calf closer to us and giving us a chance to establish the special physical connection that we had all dreamed of and hoped for. What an honor it was!
Back on the ship, we got a chance to stretch out before lunch, and Alejandro Camacho, a local pilot, came on board to navigate the National Geographic Sea Bird for the transit south, down the Hull Canal.
We anchored upon reaching the southern end of the canal and went ashore to walk across the dunes to the Pacific shores where we saw many sand dollars. It was a great time to reflect upon the wonderful journey we all shared this week.