The day began with an exciting start in the Sea of Cortez – the distinctive diagonal blow of sperm whales was seen! As the vessel cruised closer, we were able to get an excellent view of these magnificent creatures. After the exciting morning of wildlife viewing, we cruised to Puerto los Gatos. While loading the Zodiacs, a group of dolphins swam past the stern of National Geographic Venture. The dolphins escorted the first few Zodiacs to the beach, bow riding with some Zodiacs and jumping out of the water next to the boats. We approached the sandy shore beneath the red sandstone rocks with our snorkel gear, ready to discover what lives beneath the surface. We spent out morning snorkeling from the beach, during which time we found sea stars, urchins, and colorful reef fish. Excitement grew on the return to shore, when an octopus was seen moving slowly along the sandy bottom.
The calm waters provided a particularly enjoyable kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding experience, as we spent the afternoon paddling next to the stunning scenery of the Sierra la Giganta mountain range. The brown pelicans dove around us, and some fish were seen jumping out of the water. The surrounding hills provided a great backdrop for photography, with the curves and red coloration of the rocks.
This journey truly has been Among the Great Whales – the trip began with gray whales and this morning began with sperm whales. At the end of a full day, just when we thought it was safe to put away the cameras and head to cocktail hour, Mother Nature showed us otherwise. The pastel pinks and purples of the sunset were accompanied by a blue whale, which came close to the vessel. For a size comparison to the blue whale, a humpback whale decided to swim around the vessel. From the gray whales in the lagoons of Bahia Almejas and Magdalena Bay to the sunrise at the arch on the southern tip of the peninsula and all the way to the islands and inlets of the east side of the peninsula, this was a trip full of wildlife and adventure.