Today, we woke to an absolutely incredible sunrise as we anchored at Isla Santa Margarita. After breakfast, we boarded pangas and rode to Bahia Almejas with the sun shining on our smiling faces. It was not long before we saw the telltale heart-shaped blows of gray whales. Whales quickly surrounded us on all sides, showing off for one another. We were in a mating area, so it was common to see spyhopping, breaching, and breathtaking clusters of whales. We were treated to a friendly visitor today, as one whale came right over to us. The whale spent about 45 minutes with us, allowing guests in each panga to pet its face. This is such a rare treat, one burned in our memories forever. As this close encounter with such a gentle animal unfolded, shouts of joy were heard.

Upon returning to the vessel, we had lunch and regrouped for another round of whale-watching. As we boarded pangas, the excitement was palpable. This time, we observed more displays of males showing off for female attention. We spent another two hours with these beautiful animals. As the golden hour fell, we saw whale blows all along the horizon. With full hearts, we sailed back to National Geographic Venture for an incredible BBQ set up on the sundeck. As the sunset displayed brilliant colors along the horizon, we ate and drank as we reminisced about our truly remarkable trip. This has been a beautiful trip with so many incredible experiences.