A slight breeze greeted those of us on the bow of National Geographic Venture as we watched the sky glow with color as the sun rose above the horizon. Gulls and frigate birds soared overhead, and brown pelicans could be seen on shore. After gathering our snorkel gear, we headed to a protected bay and explored, viewing the world below us. We were fascinated by the wide variety of undersea creatures among the rocks and the coral. Brown urchins dotted the rocks, slate pencil urchins wedged into crevices, and venomous flower urchins collected shells. Among the coral, a few worm snails were spotted as they sent out their mucous webs in search of a meal. Some of the unique creatures spotted underwater were an octopus, a bullseye ray, and a brave eared grebe who dove underwater and approached our masks. All the while, the fish swam in and out of rock hideouts and coral.
For the afternoon, the vessel repositioned to Mangle Solo, on the western side of Isla San Jose. The island held multiple shades of green from a distance, but the colors of the flowers popped out at us as we walked through the arroyo. Smaller hedgehog cactus blended in with the volcanic rocks, while cardons stood tall overhead. The arroyo twisted and turned as we made our way through its natural path. Turkey vultures and red-tailed hawks soared overhead, while a few lucky guests saw the endemic Xantus hummingbird. The day ashore culminated with yoga on the beach as rays of light shone down on National Geographic Venture.