Today was all about sunrise, sunset, snorkeling and hiking in the morning, and an incredible humpback whale encounter in the afternoon! As we rose from our slumber and greeted the morning, we were privileged to enjoy one of those spectacular Baja sunrises that the Sea of Cortez is noted for. After breakfast, we enjoyed a morning of expedition. We explored a new beach, which had great snorkeling, and took some nice desert hikes. Once back onboard, we were off with high hopes to find more whales. We spent the rest of the day enjoying their company, and we were not disappointed. In fact, the bridge crew found two very friendly humpbacks that approached our ship. As we sat motionless for almost an hour, these whales proceeded to go back and forth under the bow before surfacing straight below our extremely excited guests! After our friends finally went on their way, we continued to cruise south and were treated to a magical sunset over the Baja Peninsula. Just another incredible day in the Sea of Cortez!
National Geographic Venture
Puerto Adolfo Lopez Mateos, Baja California Sur
The day began with a lovely stretch class led by our wellness specialist as the sun rose over Bahia Magdalena. National Geographic Venture made its way into Puerto San Carlos, and we watched pelicans swoop and dive near the shore. After a hearty breakfast, we loaded into buses and made our way to Puerto Adolfo Lopez Mateos. The plaza at the docks is always a festive, colorful place, and we were greeted by Mexican music and traditional dancers. One couldn’t help but dance. Excited, we loaded into the pangas of local, certified whale watching guides and set out toward the mouth of Boca de Soledad. On our way, we slowly passed by the mangroves that play such an important role in the immense amount of life found within Bahia Magdalena. Magnificent frigatebirds roosted in the upper branches while double-crested cormorants were seen diving and fishing in the shadows of the trees. We headed out farther into the bay and began to see blows. Several adult gray whales and a few cow/calf pairs dove and logged and blew and swam in the vicinity of our pangas for the rest of the morning…some off in the distance and some close enough to cover our glasses with spray. It was such a special experience to be in this part of the bay where so many pregnant whales come to give birth. All that whale watching caused us to work up an appetite. We went to a restaurant for a delicious, authentic Mexican meal while Los Coyotes, a musical group, serenaded us with traditional tunes. Full and happy, we returned to the plaza to ready ourselves for our afternoon whale watching tours. It’s amazing how much difference just a few hours can make while observing nature. On this trip, we saw less whales, but those we saw came much closer to the boats. The trip ended perfectly with around ten bottlenose dolphins playing across the bow. We returned to National Geographic Venture with great stories and great recaps from our staff to remind us of all the beauty we witnessed that day.