At first, it seemed unlikely that waking up just before sunrise to go snorkeling would be a good idea. Once the guests entered the water at Los Islotes – a little islet of volcanic rock located at the northern end of the Espiritu Santo Marine Reserve – they quickly realized that the charismatic sea lions inhabiting the rocks around them would be a highlight of the week. Having just been born around the end of May of last year, these seven-month-old California sea lion pups are playful and curious with each other as well as the humans snorkeling around them. Colorful fins and cameras on selfie sticks seem like excellent toys to these sea puppies. Even those that chose not to enter the ocean first thing in the morning had a magical experience being enchanted by these pinnipeds on a Zodiac cruise from the ship.
Once dried off and warmed up, guests enjoyed a delicious brunch as a second reward for the early wake-up call. Natural history staff gave presentations on adaptations of the avian variety and helpful photography tips for the wildlife encounters still to come in the week ahead. A pod of long-beaked common dolphins was spotted as they zigged and zagged around National Geographic Venture sailing towards the port of La Paz for the afternoon.
In the evening, dinner was accompanied by a cultural exhibition located in the Malecon. Artisans from Baja California displayed their artwork for guests to purchase as performers from a local high school performed the traditional “baile” or dance of the region. Following the meal, a performance by internationally recognized soprano and pianist from Mexico City enchanted guests with a stunning sunset as a backdrop. Another fantastic day has come to a close here in Mexico.