We woke up to calm seas for the first time this trip. It was a pleasant surprise to look outside National Geographic Sea Bird and see the local pangas lined up in still water, ready for another day of whale-watching. We cruised around Boca de Soledad searching for whales and found a few solitary female gray whales surfacing, with the occasional spy hop. While waiting patiently for a gray whale to come up to breathe, we were delighted by the bottlenose dolphins, curious about our pangas and playing in the wake. These playful dolphins were greeted by smiling and yelping guests in the pangas. We all soaked in the dolphins’ playfulness.
In the afternoon, we ventured out for another round of whale-watching and a walk on a nearby beach. Guests explored the nearby sand dunes scattered with dune plants, such as iodine bush and beach sand verbena. A few walkers were even greeted by local coyotes as they scoured the dunes for food.
Much of our trip has been near the local fishing town of Puerto Adolfo Lopez Mateos. To learn more about local seafood and local fisheries, hotel manager Erasmo Estripeaut spoke about Lindblad’s sustainable seafood program, including stories of working with Latin American fishermen to ensure that the fish we eat onboard is harvested in a sustainable and certified way. Guest lecturer and Duke Associate Professor Xavier Basurto also spoke to us about local fishing cooperatives, including nearby abalone fisheries. Local cooperatives are important community groups with permits for abalone and lobster fishing. Xavier explained the important role they play in protecting local fishery stocks and populations and their importance to the community of nearby Puerto Lopez Mateos. In true Lindblad style, Erasmo and Xavier made their experience immersive by sharing the local abalone collected in Magdalena Bay, which was a true Baja treat.
All in all, today was another fun-packed Baja day, filled with whales, dolphins, coyotes, and seafood.
Photo caption: Pangas align National Geographic Sea Bird in the first calm water we have seen in a few days. These pangas are driven by local pangueros to whale-watch in the area. Photo by Kelly Ferron