Early risers aboard National Geographic Sea Lion were treated to a beautiful moonset off the ship’s bow and behind the mountainous shores of the Baja coast. Shortly after the moon disappeared, its celestial companion made her daily debut off the stern, shining down on our morning stretch class. The sun rose high over glassy seas for our whale watches, which were utterly magical.

Roughly 40 gray whales rolled through the surf in Bahia Almejas. The animals performed repeated spy hops, lifting their rostrums out of the water and in full view of our eyes and cameras. As the morning marched on, they impressed with acrobatic head lunges, tail slaps, and rolls to and fro. Our afternoon whale watch provided more of the same theater, as the whales cruised under our pangas and exhaled mere inches from our bow.