Bahia Magdalena

Feb 05, 2018 - National Geographic Sea Bird


Today was our first full day of whale watching in Bahia Magdalena. This place is more special than most people realize. The only large baleen whales that venture into the coastal lagoons are the California gray whales, and the only lagoons they visit are the ones along the Pacific coast of the Baja California Peninsula.

We had the options of going to visit the incredible sand dunes of Isla Magdalena, where we could see many coyote and jackrabbit tracks. The landscape of desert that surrounds the gray whale lagoons is hard to describe. From the immense mounds of sand, we could see and hear the gray whales breaking the surface, only to disappear back into the dark waters of the lagoon.

We also had the special opportunity to take a closer look at the whales from our expedition landing craft. We saw several gray whales. Some of them were singles and some of the females had a calf swimming by their side. At first, it was hard to believe we were actually that close to these gentle giants. We could see the color and texture of their skin. We could see the barnacles and “whale lice” that cover part of their bodies, and we could see, hear, and even smell their impressive blows! For a while, bottlenose dolphins got really close to our boats as well, and they appeared to be playing with a mother and calf pair of whales.

To end the day, a local band of musicians from the nearby town of Puerto Adolfo Lopez Mateos, known as Los Coyotes de Magdalena played some traditional Mexican songs, adding a fun flavor to the local culture. It is hard to believe that our journey is just beginning, and that we had such great experiences so far. There is no doubt that the Baja California Peninsula is one of the most interesting places in the beautiful natural world.

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About the Author

Alberto Montaudon

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Alberto fell in love with nature as a young child. Born and raised in Tampico, Tamaulipas, Mexico, he spent most of his childhood exploring the Chairlel Lagoon and the Tamesi River. Each morning he would patiently wait in his rowboat for sunrise to witness the great groups of migrating birds that would land on the water. His father taught him from a very early age to understand, love, and respect nature. As a result of his upbringing, Alberto became biologist and decided to follow his passion and became a naturalist. At age 21, Alberto began working with Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic in Baja California. Since then he has been sharing interests that range from bird biology to undersea exploration to wildlife photography with thousands of guests.

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