National Geographic Venture crossed the Tropic of Cancer and entered the tropics at around 8:30 p.m. last night. This morning, we anchored at Los Frailes, immediately to the south of Cabo Pulmo National Park. We enjoyed a good breakfast while eagerly anticipating the chance to get into the water. Soon, a small flotilla of local pangas arrived. Guests could not wait to explore the park’s marvels while snorkeling. Kim Nesbitt and I boarded another boat, and a local dive master took us scuba diving to capture underwater footage.

Snorkelers divided into small groups and had the chance to witness a great diversity of reef fish and various species of coral, particularly the elegant and giant mound coral. Large numbers of sergeant majors greeted us, and we enjoyed watching king angelfish and Moorish idols. Some guests had the opportunity to share the waters with California sea lions while they watched a female humpback whale and her calf near the shore.

Meanwhile, Kim and I made a couple wonderful dives. We admired huge schools of fish, especially yellow snappers, graybar grunts, jacks and Mexican goatfishes. Countless fish completely covered the area, and the jacks even blocked the sunlight! We managed to get video of a large number of the reef’s top predator, the bull shark. We enjoyed the privilege of watching them. Despite being responsible for the highest number of shark attacks on humans, bull sharks are not bloodthirsty. Overfishing is a concern for sharks around the world, and nowadays their presence is missing in places where they were once common. The sharks’ presence is an encouraging sign of Cabo Pulmo’s success in conservation.

After leaving our anchorage, we sailed towards the southern end of the peninsula to look for wildlife. This area is a major breeding ground for humpback whales in the North Pacific, and we spent the rest of the day watching the very charismatic cetacean. We spotted groups of males and several females with young calves. Whales engaged in intriguing aerial displays, like tail-lobbing and pectoral fin-slapping, delighting everyone when they breached high into the air! Overall, we had an extraordinary first day on the beautiful Sea of Cortez.