On the first day on the Pacific side of Baja California, National Geographic Venture set out this morning in search of whales. The mountains of the Gulf of California side were replaced by the low-lying plains of the Pacific side. With eight-foot waves causing some motion as we cruised, it was easier to enjoy being on the bow with the wind in our faces than inside with the comforts of the vessel. We found several humpback whales along our journey, some of which breached, but most of which just let us take a look at their beautiful flukes before diving down. Every fluke of a humpback whale has a unique pattern to that individual, and we were able to see a few. Before lunch, Sarah Friedlander gave a presentation on gray whales in the lounge in order to provide some background on the area and give insight into the history of the magnificent whales that come into the lagoons of Baja California. We enjoyed lunch shortly after passing through La Entrada, the vessel’s entrance to Magdalena Bay.
The calm waters of the bay were welcome, and we went ashore in the afternoon at Sand Dollar Beach. The expansive, sandy beach greeted us and allowed us to sink our toes into the sand as we explored the area. As we hiked across the dunes to the Pacific side, the ocean called to us as it crashed ashore. Once we made our way across the dunes, the namesake of the beach became obvious – there were sand dollars everywhere! Sand dollars were on top of, partially in, and buried under the sand everywhere we looked. In the evening, we headed back ashore for a bonfire at the beach. It was a peaceful and lovely end to an ideal day in Baja California aboard National Geographic Venture.