National Geographic Venture anchored in Almejas Bay, the southern portion of the Magdalena Bay complex. We enjoyed a colorful sunrise and views of the beautiful, rugged and exotic terrains of Santa Margarita. To the east, we observed the vast plains of the Santo Domingo Valley on the Baja California Peninsula. Different species of seabirds flew over the quiet waters of the bay, so guests had the opportunity to identify and photograph them. After safety briefings, all guests and staff boarded pangas for the first whale-watching outing of our voyage. Pangas are fiber-glass outboard boats that local fishermen use to fish throughout the year and for whale-watching during the winter. Once aboard the pangas, we moved down toward the southern entrance to the bay. Gray whales use this same entrance.

This is such an outstanding area! We easily spotted more than 70 single whales. They displayed all types of behavior, like spyhopping, breaching, swimming on their sides, diving, rolling on their backs, fluking and so on. Spyhopping was the most common behavior. Dozens of whales did it simultaneously throughout the day. Three “friendly” whales approached our pangas many times during the outings. Most of our guests and naturalists had the chance to pet them. Smiling faces were everywhere, and we kept hearing the same refrain: “I won’t want to wash my hands for a month!” A marvelous sunset closed the day in Bahia Almejas!