Feb 14, 2019 - National Geographic Venture
There are days where so much comes in the way of new experience that it feels as if there were weeks’ worth of life being packed into an afternoon: This, to be sure, was one of those days.
The morning began with a bang. Well, a flash actually. The first moments of this morning’s sun let off a bluish green glow known as “green flash.” This phenomenon occurs when the tiniest clip of sun crests the horizon (possible also at dusk), showing only the blue-green end of its light spectrum. The rest of the color is scattered by the earth’s atmosphere, much like a prism scatters light. That was just the start of the morning.
By 8:30, we were surrounded by a pod of over 100 long-beaked common dolphins who took to gliding beside National Geographic Venture for nearly half an hour, surfing and leaping along in our ship’s wake. Not only were the seas enjoyably calm, but the skies were clear, and the temperature was in the low 70s!
By 9:30, a triangular, upright fin was spotted at the surface and attracted the attention of the entire ship. It turned out to be a mako shark, swimming in circles just below the surface less than 100 meters off our bow. With the calm conditions, the entire profile of this sleek predator could be seen, along with two barnacles attached to its pectoral flipper. It is a one of a kind experience having perspective above a circling shark, to say nothing of good fortune!
If that were not enough, our morning was complimented by the sighting of none other than a blue whale! This behemoth seemed to be preoccupied by something at depth since it only surfaced every 20 minutes or so. Regardless, it was still something to witness such an immense and graceful member of the marine world.
After a lunch break, we headed ashore to a place called Puerto Gato. This is a geologist’s dreamscape. Smooth red sandstone formations as brilliant and aesthetic as those of Utah were the backdrop for our landing. The day trip ashore offered everything from desert hikes, to snorkeling, to kayaking, to paddleboarding. With warm weather to match this day’s excellent water conditions, there were plenty of options to enjoy our first outing on the Baja Peninsula before evening cocktails aboard National Geographic Venture and the proceeding days here in the Sea of Cortez.
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