Bahia Almeja & Magdalena Bay

Mar 04, 2019 - National Geographic Sea Bird


Our morning on National Geographic Sea Bird exceeded our high expectations in just a few short hours, leaving us grinning from ear to ear for the remainder of the day. We arrived in Bahia Almeja, a southern area in Magdalena Bay on the west side of the Baja Peninsula, to explore an ecosystem that is rarely seen by visitors but is very popular with a few animals.

First, we looked high in the sky and found impressive groups of frigates coasting above and nesting in long strips of mangroves. Then, we transferred into small, local boats and went in search of cetaceans. The gray whale, Eschrichtius robustus, takes a 10,000- to 12,000-mile, round-trip journey between feeding grounds in the Bering Sea in the summer and their mating and birthing grounds in warmer waters each spring. Magdalena Bay is one of those unique areas gray whales seek out each year to mate and give birth.

After spreading out into four boats to carefully observe from a distance, we encountered several curious whales. We all saw far more than we’d anticipated, including some sightings of a rare albino whale. One boat was tail-splashed by an adult passing by. Another boat was approached by a gray whale that they petted and scratched, sharing an experience that not one of expeditioners will ever forget. By the end of our visit, we could all gratefully say that we had each seen at least 30 gray whales in only three hours and can’t wait to observe more.

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About the Author

Christine West

Undersea Specialist

Christine was fortunate to grow up in the Pacific Northwest on the shores of the Puget Sound. After graduating from the University of Washington, she decided to pursue her love of the ocean and exploration. Her passion for marine biology has inspired her through over 4,000 scuba dives around the globe in temperate and cold-water conditions, as well as snorkeling and freediving in extraordinary habitats such as in river beds with spawning salmon, in recently de-glaciated bays and lagoons filled with ice and glacial silt and in deep blue water with large marine animals including humpback whales, hammerhead sharks and pilot whales.

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