After a full day of water activities yesterday, it was time to set foot on land once more. We were fortunate to wake up today at the face of Isla Espiritu Santo for a morning of island exploration. Hikes were offered through the desert terrain along with beachcombing a pristine and diverse shoreline. Our morning ashore promised some exciting finds, from lively jackrabbits to the not-so-lively remains of a moray eel. Long hikers trekked carefully across patches of creeping devil cactus and climbed their way up uneven rocks to a promising overlook of the island. Beachcombers discovered fish, marine mammals, aquatic birds, and reptiles. There was much more to visually explore on the beach than just shells. To conclude the rousing escapades of the day, National Geographic Venture brought us into La Paz to share a special evening of authentic Mexican dishes, proper tequila consumption, and an array of dancing and vocal entertainment. As the sun sank over the Sea of Cortez and glowed orange and pink on the desert plants, “Besame Mucho” sang out in the background. It seemed like the perfect song choice for the end of a film – this film being the one we had all just played a part in and soon, we will call it a wrap.
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.