The calm waters of “Magdalena Bay Norte” made for a very tranquil morning as guests and crew alike enjoyed the sunrise over Mexico. The last stretch class of the trip prepared participants for a final morning of gray whale watching. Local boats, or pangas, arrived at 0830, and guests set off to find the mothers and calves that occupy the protected waters of one of Baja’s most productive breeding lagoons. The slick, dark back of a week-old calf was spotted within inches of the much larger mother. The morning was a productive one as all boats found their quarries along with some cooperative bottlenose dolphins and a plethora of wonderful birds. The pangas returned to the ship for lunch, and National Geographic Sea Bird repositioned to a nearby anchorage that allowed access to Sand Dollar Beach. This strip of shore earned its name from the many sand dollars that litter its wave-beaten beach. Guests explored dunes and breakers as staff members helped identify plants, insects, and birds.
National Geographic Sea Bird
Boca de Soledad
Today our guests ventured to the northern end of Magdalena Bay known as Boca De Soledad, where we were treated to multiple mother and calf pairs. One particular calf kept lifting its head out of the water with every exhale, giving us great looks at the whale's eye and cute little face. These babies were practicing swimming in the bay’s opening with its challenging, swift moving water. They need to build the vital muscle mass required for the long migration against the California current back to their feeding grounds for the summer. At this point in the season, these calves have grown quite a bit, drinking the rich milk (over 50% fat) that mom produces and gaining close to 100 pounds a day. After an eventful morning, we transited the Hull Canal, where we observed pelicans, herons, and a coyote! We even spotted bow-riding bottlenose dolphins with a little calf. We ended our afternoon at Sand Dollar Beach. Some guests hiked to the Pacific, some lounged on the beach, and some searched for unique shells and animals. As we end our trip tonight, we will watch our collaborative guest slideshow and reflect on the incredible weather, the friendly whales, and the new friends made during this amazing trip.