A heavy blanket of fog laid over National Geographic Sea Bird as the last day of the voyage began. After a brief stretch class, guests enjoyed a healthy breakfast to prepare for a morning of whale watching. Pangas full of guests sped along the sand dunes that line Canal de Soledad as eyes were set on the horizon, hoping to see the distinct heart-shaped spout of the gray whale. It didn’t take long for the panga drivers to find a mother and calf floating at the surface of the water, apparently enjoying a restful sleep. After a period of quiet observation from a distance, the whales began to stir into motion. Guests were greeted by a friendly giant as the young gray whale prodded the fiberglass boats with curiosity. We wrapped up a productive morning of whale watching when guests came back aboard for lunch. We made a short transit through Hull Canal with navigation by our longtime pilot, Sergio Camacho. The ship anchored near the southern tip of Isla Magdalena so guests could make the short trek to Sand Dollar Beach as the last adventure of the day.
National Geographic Sea Bird
Bahia Almejas, Baja California
As the sun rose, the hills of Isla Santa Margarita lit up to wake us to our first day in Bahia Magdalena. We had lots of firsts today, as we got to meet our panga drivers and head out to explore the area. Today’s focus was Bahia Almejas, the social center of gray whale hangouts at this time of year. And the whales certainly didn’t disappoint. We had lots of encounters with ‘friendly whales’ coming right up to the pangas and allowing us to touch them. As if that wasn’t enough, there was all sorts of activity like whales breaching, spyhopping, and even some mating! Naturally, one of the highlights was getting whale snot blown all over us! We split into two groups for whale watching. The group that wasn’t on the pangas learned how to improve photographic composition using iPhones from Gemina Garland-Lewis, certified photo instructor for the trip. We went out for a couple hours in the morning and afternoon, passing a spit covered in double-crested cormorants and brown pelicans each time. On the way back to National Geographic Sea Bird , we had a treat and saw a lone bald eagle that had clearly been hunting amongst the cormorants. The day wasn’t quite done. After a delicious dinner that included the popular chocolate decadence, Kylee Walterman educated us with a presentation on gray whales. Everyone had the opportunity to touch whale lice if they so wished!