After this morning, any guest on National Geographic Sea Lion cruise to Baja playing a word association game and given the word “friendly,” will undoubtedly say “gray whale.” The reason, of course, is because of a most tolerant gray whale mother and calf. It was a perfect setting for the encounter: no wind, clear skies, and flat sea. The docile pair stayed in the same general area for the whole morning and seemed to welcome our presence. Over, under, and around the boats they slowly swam and sometimes just floated in one place for a few minutes. Of course, we all went a bit crazy with joyous squeaks and squeals leading to: “Over there!”…“Over here!”…“Mom is under the boat!”…“Baby, over there!”…“Splash! Splash! Splash!”…“I touched a tail!”…“Baby, baby, baby coming this way!”…“I got a touch, I got a touch!” An incredible experience that has been burned into our personal RAM.
It wasn’t all about whales, however. Before or after the whale watches, we went ashore to the beautiful and pristine dunes for leisure time: walking, sitting, and boogie-boarding (on sand!). We returned to a wonderful brunch and as we sailed south to Sand Dollar Beach, we were escorted by five bottle-nosed dolphins who briefly rode National Geographic Sea Lion’s bow. After the leisurely sail, we landed on a sheltered beach, and then walked 1.5 miles across to Sand Dollar Beach on the exposed Pacific. The serene experience on two different beaches was a perfect way to end the magical day. Before dinner, we viewed the collection of our photos that were submitted for the traditional guest slide show and relived memories from the trip and spent a final evening with new friends. To paraphrase a famous movie quote: “We’ll be back!”