Mar 19, 2017 - National Geographic Sea Bird
After a quiet night at anchor, we awakened this morning aboard the National Geographic Sea Bird with a choice—to go ashore pre-sunrise or roll over and go back to sleep. Hmmmm…many opted for the former, donning layers, cameras and life jackets to take an early morning excursion among the sand dunes of Isla Magdalena. After breakfast and sunrise, we all went ashore for a more leisurely look around. The sun shone down from a bright blue sky, there was a light breeze, and it was around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Feet swung over the expedition landing crafts and landed mid-calf in refreshing bay water. Groups meandered their way over and around the dunes across this narrow barrier island in the general direction of the Pacific Ocean on the other side. Many people—myself included—chose to walk barefoot. What a sensory delight! The texture of sand changed from dense wet to salty crunchy to silky fine flour, and many variations in between. In some places the ground felt solid and dense, in others our feet sank and the sands shifted and flowed. Areas exposed to the sun were hot, those in the shade cold. All the while we felt our bodies recharging with vital energy.
The elements revealed the presence of creatures going about their business. Tracks and debris of all kinds indicated ants, beetles, birds, mice, snakes, coyotes, humans (!). I sat for a while alongside a dune with the sound of the breeze and the Pacific waves thundering in the background, and birdsong surrounding me—several horned larks calling to one another. The flap and caw of a crow overhead and then the shadow of a pelican made me look up to the bright blue sky. When I finally got up again I followed coyote tracks threading their way around the dunes to the Pacific. The desert is anything but barren and the beach extended for miles in either direction, with shells—and especially sand dollars—strewn everywhere. A great place for a long run, or a stroll at the water’s edge, a quick refreshing dip, and nature’s story being told around us.
Back onboard we weighed anchor, and spent the afternoon cruising northward towards San Ignacio Lagoon. It was wonderful to be out on the bow with the sunshine and fresh sea air. We also spent time indoors with an introductory photo talk to learn more about our cameras and composition, and had another talk on gray whales in preparation for our explorations tomorrow. What a beautiful first day here in Baja California.