Water surrounded us with no land in sight. For most of the morning it was ocean and cloud-pocked sky. The Pacific was just that: peaceful with long, rolling waves and wind ripples between. The bow of the ship developed a rhythm. Up and down. Rise and fall. Crest and trough. Watchers there could feel this cadence through their feet. Human responses followed the same pattern: a rush of energy followed by relaxation.

The thrill of a humpback whale waving long pectoral flippers brought shouts and excitement. Breaths were held while cetacean movements were hidden from view and all exhaled with its surfacing blow. The synchronized fluking by two companion whales caused ripples of sounds of joy.

Then there was waiting and watching again. Jubilant common dolphins leapt from the crests of the waves, rushed to the bow and stole a free ride on the pressure wave. Time and again, pulse after pulse, they came and went, the pace irregular but the result the same.

Inside Magdalena Bay, waves of Zodiac landing craft traveled from ship to shore. Here, repeating arcs of barchan dunes told of shifting sands. In blow-outs between, coyote and rabbit with regular steps imprinted tales to decipher.

And the dance went on. In the evening the patterns of life were celebrated by the beat of a fiesta band.