Hull Canal | Boca de la Soledad | Isla Magdalena

Feb 12, 2020 - National Geographic Sea Lion


An early relocation through the Hull Canal provided a peaceful and engaging introduction to the tour through Magdalena Bay. Guests and staff observed a variety of species from our panoramic view on the bow of National Geographic Sea Lion. We saw a coyote along the shoreline and many different species of birds, including pelicans, ibis, terns, and egrets. Having our wildlife back-dropped by vast sandy dunes on one side of the canal, and the mangroves on the other made the encounters even more picturesque.

After anchoring near the Boca de la Soledad our group took turns exploring Isla Magdalena and touring the bay in search of gray whales. Local pangueros guided us towards the action, and there was plenty of it! Immediately upon reaching “The Boca” we witnessed an airborne gray whale calf! The excitement continued as we watched whales continuously lift their heads out of the water, a behavior referred to as spy hopping. Some even surfaced within a whale’s-length (40 feet or so) of our vessels!

Landing on shore was its own adventure. A walk across the island offered captivating views and a nice opportunity to stretch our legs. Patterns and textures present in the dunes were as abundant as they were mesmerizing. Desert plants and scattered shells contributed color and contrast to the sandy environment.

After returning from activities our group met for cocktails and appetizers in the lounge while listening to the talented Los Coyotes; a local group of musicians. Dinner followed by desserts and more music was a perfect way to wrap up our first day aboard National Geographic Sea Lion.

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About the Author

James Ramsdell

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

From a young age James has had a passion for science and exploration. Growing up on the coast of Massachusetts with regular trips to New Hampshire's wilderness led to a love for the oceans and mountains. He earned a degree in Geological Sciences at age 21. Seeking adventure, he moved to the island of Maui. There he worked as a deckhand and naturalist for whale watching and snorkel charters. James honed his skill in photography before moving to Juneau, Alaska where he worked as a photography guide and naturalist. He has continued to work seasonally, Hawaii in the winter and Juneau in the summer for the past two years.

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