There was a sense of excitement and anticipation on board National Geographic Venture as we prepared for our final day of this incredible voyage. From our location at the dock in the town of San Carlos, in Magdalena Bay, we would take an hour and a half bus ride north to the town of Lopez Mateos for one last chance to see, and hopefully interact with, the seasonal residents, the mighty gray whales. So once the buses arrived at the dock, and we loaded into our local panga boats, we were off to find our quarry in the protected waters of the northern part of Magdalena Bay.

It was not long before the first whale blows appeared, and the boats slowly approached for a much closer look. Today was our chance to get up-close-and-personal with the gray whale moms and their awesome little calves, and we were not disappointed. After slowly following as the moms exercised their kids during a morning swim, they came to a stop and became interested in our boats, and the excited guests that awaited, not so patiently, for a possible very close encounter.

Both mom and her precious little one went from boat-to-boat and gave everyone a thrill as the calf lifted its head out of the water and let the very excited guests touch and stroke its rostrum. At one point, it seemed like some of our travelers might fall right out of the pangas in their over exuberance to have that contact with these amazing creatures! By the end of the morning almost all the guests had a chance to touch one of the calves as they went from boat to boat.

Soon it was time to have a wonderful lunch at a local restaurant, and then return for two more hours of whale watching, before returning to San Carlos and having our last night aboard National Geographic Venture. An incredible last day, on an incredible journey in Baja.