Cruising off Magdalena Bay

Feb 08, 2019 - National Geographic Venture

Today we woke to a fully docked ship, from which our group watched the quiet fishing town of San Carlos light up over sunrise. The dock itself is a great place to watch birds, and we had a great time taking in displays of swooping, perching, and birdcalls among the fish boats as these birds looked for an early breakfast along the water’s edge. The most abundant, of course, were the gulls—among which western and California gulls dominated over a smaller number of Hermann’s gulls and at least one solitary yellow-footed gull. Several other species including snowy egrets, black-caped night herons, great blue herons, belted kingfishers, ospreys, eared grebes, as well as Brandt’s and double-crested cormorants. We also had watched the comings and goings of commercial fishermen checking their baitfish traps and getting ready for another day of hard work.

National Geographic Venture made her way out of Magdalena Bay towards the gap between Santa Margarita and Magdalena Islands, locally known as “La Entrada,” where we had the chance to observe a formidable collection of grey whales. Several regaled us with breaches, and many more showed their flukes before a diving deep beneath the surface.

We sailed south alongside Santa Margarita Island, and it was not long before we came upon a large group of the long-beaked common dolphins. Something like a couple of hundred dolphins followed our ship! Many guests took the opportunity to capture the grace and agility of these specimens on camera, and no doubt it will make a great centerpiece for the experience.

We came across more whales and later we found an unlikely combination of two grey whales swimming beside two humpbacks. We capped our day right, by watching the sunset over fresh margaritas on deck. What a superb day here in Baja California.

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About the Author

Carlos Navarro

Undersea Specialist

Carlos J. Navarro is a biochemist specializing in marine biology, a M. Sc. in Environmental Management and a freelance wildlife photographer/author. Carlos has spent most of the last 30 years living along the shores of the Sea of Cortez and participating in numerous scientific, conservation and environmental education projects on the vaquita, marine invertebrates, sea birds, great white sharks, baleen whales, jaguars and crocodiles. Carlos’ six years of jaguar research provided the basis of ONCA MAYA, a non-profit organization dedicated to jaguar conservation based in Cancun, of which he is a founding member and still serves as a scientific advisor. He loves being underwater, either free-diving or using SCUBA gear and have had the chance to explore the underwater realms of Alaska, Mexico, Svalbard, the trans-Atlantic ridge islands, the Caribbean and both coasts of South America from Panama to Chile and Brazil to Argentina. 

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