Isla Santa Catalina, the last expedition stop during our voyage, offered some of the greatest of superlatives: a pair of adult blue whales and giant barrel cacti, over three meters tall.

Despite the almost total lack of rain over the last few years, the cardon cacti seemed to be doing quite well. Many-armed, robust and very green, they had enough reserves to flower.

The photo above shows flowers at all stages, including a relatively fresh one from the previous afternoon. These pale blossoms atract birds, bats and insects throughout the 24-hour cycle. Many of these pollinators will also disperse the many-seeded fruits.