Magdalena Bay & Hull Canal

Jan 23, 2018 - National Geographic Sea Bird


Our day began before sunrise with an announcement from our expedition leader waking us to meet the dawn. Half the group downed a quick bite, visited the coffee fueling station, and shuffled onto our Zodiacs. As the sun crested the horizon, we found ourselves surrounded by gray whales, and all thoughts of early morning fatigue dissipated. A few adult whales cruised the area, delighting photographers with views of their flukes. A couple of mom and calf pairs rested near the surface, coming up near our boats to breathe. As the morning progressed, the other half of our guests zipped out in the Zodiacs to meet the whales. Sometimes they were so close we could almost touch them, but they remained stubbornly out of reach. At one point, one of the calves rolled onto its side and gazed at us with one eye out of the water. By the time we were all back aboard the ship, everyone was satisfied with many whale encounters.

For the rest of the day, we cruised south through Hull Canal, a shallow and sometimes narrow waterway separating Isla Magdalena from the peninsula. We dropped off our pilot near San Carlos, where we boarded the ship a few days ago, and continued our journey out into the Pacific. Along the way, we spotted dolphins, gray whales, and humpback whales. Our naturalist Lee Moll gathered everyone on the bow for sunset to see the "green flash," but unfortunately the horizon was a bit too cloudy for a clear view of it. Photographers, however, enjoyed some excellent photo ops of the sunset. This evening we rock gently at sea—the Pacific is truly living up to its name!

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About the Author

Emily Mount

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Emily grew up in Niwot, Colorado and Pullman, Washington. Her love of nature began as a child during family vacations spent hiking, camping and exploring the mountains and deserts of the west. In contrast to her outdoors interests, Emily pursued an intensive young career as a classical violinist, culminating in degrees in history and music performance at the University of Washington.  

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