National Geographic Sea Lion commenced early this morning, navigating along Hull Canal to reach the southern part of the Magdalena Coastal Lagoon Complex, called Bahia Almejas, or Clams Bay. This is a very shallow but equally beautiful section for transiting, made by the peninsula of Baja California, the arid, broken, and foggy Santa Margarita Island and the mangrove-covered Crescent Island. Here, the gray whales come into the lagoon by a channel between Santa Margarita and Crescent Islands, although most individuals are adult males and females that gather to court and mate.
On the way down to Almejas, our guest contemplated once more the union of ecosystems here: the mangroves, sand dunes and lagoons that all make this region so rich and diverse in wildlife, and so wonderful to interact with. So far, our guests have already acquired a truer sense of nature and conservation, just by walking and contemplating this fascinating environment. sense that can enrich and even change our minds and daily habits. From the smaller of specimens – the ants, the minute, solitary wasps – to the coyotes, to the gray whales: all have contributed to deepen our considerations and thoughts. With their insights, they lend opportunities for us to reflect back within ourselves and our relation to the outer world. The plants perhaps give us a sense of adversity in the trying desert environment, in which adaptation is the key. Thus, we learn much over the course of this voyage. Kimberly Baldwin, one of our Naturalists, reinforced such reflections with her lecture on the adaptation and gradual evolution of sea birds, followed by a presentation on coastal lagoons as the essential nurseries of the gray whales we have come here to visit.
In the afternoon, anchored in Almejas Bay, our guests had multiple opportunities for whale watching and tours to frigate bird nesting colonies stationed among a patch of mangroves. Beside adult frigate birds with their inflated red gular pouches, we saw many chicks in their nests! Countless wonderous things in just one day.