Sand Dollar Beach, Baja California Sur

Jan 15, 2020 - National Geographic Venture


Baja California is truly proving itself to be one of the most magical places on the planet. Waking up this morning, National Geographic Venture was sailing north in the Pacific Ocean, offshore of the Baja peninsula. Having entered the open ocean for the first time in this trip, we were hoping to see some animals that are not always found in the Sea of Cortez. We were not disappointed! Bottlenose dolphins joined the ship as the sun rose, surfing along in the pressure wave created by the ship’s bulbous bow. During breakfast, rafts of about 100 California sea lions raced over to play in our wake, and two humpback whales even swam and twirled off of our stern, giving guests a show through the panoramic windows in the dining room. Throughout the morning there were sightings of many new seabirds [pink-footed and black-vented shearwaters, western and California gulls] and cetaceans [Pacific white-sided dolphins] as we made our way towards the entrance to Magdalena Bay.

After passing through La Entrada de Bahía Magdalena, we sighted our first California gray whales! In addition to providing protection from the elements for these whales during their mating and birthing season, the barrier islands that create these lagoons are covered in magnificent sand dunes. For the afternoon, we landed on a sandy beach, walked across sand dunes to inspect the incredibly resilient plants that colonize the area, and enjoyed the views of the Pacific Ocean from Sand Dollar Beach. Culminating what could only be considered the newest best day of the trip, the amazing galley team provided a spectacular beach barbecue dinner complete with s’mores and an acoustic Mexican serenade from Los Coyotes of Magdalena.

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About the Author

JIll Niederberger

Naturalist

Jill is an aquatic biologist, naturalist, divemaster, and captain with a love for everything living in and depending on water. Whether sailing catamarans, leading snorkeling tours, or assisting with cetacean field research projects, she enjoys connecting others to the wilderness around them. Her most recent adventures have led her into a focus on marine mammals – those creatures with fur and blubber that defy the odds by living in or depending on an environment in which they cannot breathe.

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