Morning fog engulfed Isla Santa Margarita to the west of National Geographic Sea Bird’s anchorage, as well as settling on the waters of Bahia Almejas. Bahia Almejas is one of three large lagoons along the Pacific Coast of Baja California, Mexico which is a mating destination for the gray whales during their winter migration.

We boarded colorful pangas captained by wonderful local pangeros who ventured into the early morning fog towards where they expected the whales to be, and there they were. Misty exhales of whales hung in the air and the sound of whales surfacing to breathe had heads swiveling from left to right and all around to spot these beautifully mottled gray cetaceans.

The fog soon cleared and the rest of the day’s whale watching activities were under sunny skies. Whales were plentiful and many onboard experienced the very special interaction of getting to look a whale in the eye while gently rubbing their heads; experiences that are relatively rare and so incredibly moving. It is such a special feeling to know that a whale chose to be friendly alongside one’s panga, looking for an interaction through touch.