Today we awoke before sunrise for an incredible start to our day. Anchored north of Los Islotes, two small, exposed islets, we watched the sun come up as we made our way in wetsuits to go for a snorkel. The sounds of California sea lions were carried across the sea as we got closer. In the water, the current moved us along, and we ended up in a large bait ball with pelicans diving for fish and young sea lions doing their acrobatics all around us. After snorkeling, Zodiac riders got to see the world from above, and we all had an amazing, tasty brunch waiting for us back on the ship. After a short reposition to Isla Partida, we explored the amazing beach of Ensenada Grande and the arroyo above it. We found lots of amazing bird and plant life and had some fun times scrambling up the rocks! Cocktail hour on the beach was waiting for us when we returned, and we soaked up the amazing views before heading back for dinner on the ship.
National Geographic Sea Lion
National Geographic Sea Lion ’s first Baja trip of the season is off to a great start! We began in Bahia Almejas, where we were picked up from the ship after breakfast by the local pangueros, who hold the permits required to watch whales in Magdalena Bay. Their small fiberglass boats are a great platform for viewing the stars of this itinerary, the gray whales. We zoomed out toward the mouth of Bahia Almejas in the speedy pangas, getting great sightings of hundreds of birds congregating on the sand bars. And then, a spout! And another, and another! A dozen or more whales dotted the horizon in every direction. The whales were unusually active. While full body breaches are usually a rare occurrence in this species, we saw multiple breaches from multiple animals throughout the morning. All in all, it was a beautiful introduction to these animals that we hope to know better as the trip continues. The pangueros delivered us back to National Geographic Sea Lion and we lifted our anchor to relocate to Puerto Magdalena, a small fishing village. Photo instructor Chelsea gave a presentation about smartphone photography as we completed our repositioning, and then we disembarked once more for the afternoon. Some of us opted to go for hikes, which provided beautiful looks at native and endemic plant species. Others chose a fat tire bike ride, or a leisurely afternoon at the restaurant on the beach. Those who chose the Zodiac tour had a nice surprise when they encountered a large pod of bottlenose dolphins. After a long day of play in the sun, it was time to return to the ship and have a well-deserved dinner. Following a beautiful meal, naturalist Sofia gave a talk in the lounge about gray whales. Tomorrow, we journey north for new adventures!