Whale Watching / Puerto Gato

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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About the Author

Eric Guth

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Eric began work with Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic in 2006 as a means to see the world, work with great photographers and engage his environmental studies degree beyond the classroom. His initial years with the company were spent working the waters of Southeast Alaska and Baja California. His move to the National Geographic Explorer in 2008 helped earn him the experience and knowledge needed to establish himself as a trusted boat handler, naturalist and respected photographer in nearly all the environments Lindblad-National Geographic travels.

About the Videographer

Sarah Culler

Video Chronicler

Sarah was raised on a multi-generational family dairy farm, established circa 1815 in Lucas, Ohio. Consequently, her first paying job was milking cows! Rewarding as it was to get paid for the first time, she found her passion behind the lens of a camera. Growing up on the farm gave her not only a strong work ethic but also the love of nature and being outdoors. 

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