At Sea, and Isla Magdalena

Dec 18, 2019 - National Geographic Venture


A green flash appeared in the morning horizon as the first sun rays peeked over the ocean. We were sailing south towards La Entrada, the main opening to Magdalena Bay. The ocean conditions were very nice, and we had a pleasant ride through the night and all morning. During our time cruising, we could see several humpback whales, and a few oceanic birds here and there.

We made our way into Bahia Magdalena, where the water was calm. The surrounding mountains were covered in green, due to some strong rains from last month. We could tell from a distance, that the desert,which is usually brown, was happy and very much alive.

Our destination for the morning was a dirt road, which leads to one of the most magnificent long sandy beaches in the world. On the way, we could learn more about desert plant adaptations, and the species of plants that are unique to Magdalena Island, or at least endemic to the general area that surrounds the bay. One of the most representative plants is the creeping devil, a columnar cactus that has adapted to grow sideways along the ground, and its spines are so dense, that they offer full protection against solar radiation or any herbivores that may try to feed on it.

We talked about the history of whaling, after we found some old whale bones in the desert, and talked about the fact that Mexico was the first country to ever protect whales, and after that the whale population rebounded to the point where the numbers came back.

We repositioned the ship a few miles to have a second landing on Magdalena island. After exploring the desert, we now had the opportunity to walk on the interminable sand dunes. Everything was orchestrated in a way, that we could sit on the dunes or the beach, while enjoying a glass of wine as the sun dissappeared into the horizon.

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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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