Man-O-War Beach, Isla Magdalena

Jeff Campbell, Naturalist

  • Daily Expedition Reports
  • 04 Feb 2020

Man-O-War Beach, Isla Magdalena , 2/4/2020, National Geographic Venture

  • Aboard the National Geographic Venture
  • Baja California

This morning, National Geographic Venture anchored off Man-O-War Beach on Isla Magdalena. A variety of walks went out across the island to Sand Dollar Beach, and one headed towards the mangroves in search of birds. The hikes across the island found low-lying wildflowers in bloom on the dunes, including red sand-verbana, euphorbias, and the endemic Magdalena twinevine. Once on the other side, plenty of evidence of the creatures that live in the Pacific Ocean were discovered. Included in the list of treasures from the sea were the skull of a sea lion, bones of dolphins, and a multitude of massive scallops. Shells of snails were left in piles from where some hungry bird had enjoyed their meals in the past. The bird walk saw a variety of shorebirds on the way to the mangroves, and then herons, egrets, and an osprey amongst the mangroves.

In the afternoon, National Geographic Venture left the anchorage inside of Magdalena Bay and cruised south through La Entrada, into the Pacific Ocean. Our Expedition Leader, John Mitchell, strategically scheduled a talk in the afternoon, knowing that the wildlife likes to interrupt these types events. His planning went well, and humpback whales were spotted just as the scheduled talk was about to start. For the majority of the afternoon, humpback whales were seen around the vessel. These whales showed off at the surface by diving around the vessel and fluking majestically. The most impressive behavior we observed was breaching, tail lobbing, and fin slapping. Naturalist Sofia Merino narrated as we watched the show in order to translate the behavior of these whales for us. Our last full day on the Pacific coast of Baja California concluded with a beautiful sunset.

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