The final day of our expedition began in northern Magdalena Bay, with one last excursion in the pangas to search for gray whales. As usual, the local pangueros did not disappoint, leading us to some amazing close encounters with mother gray whales and their babies. Some of our guests were lucky enough to see two gray whale babies meet and frolic around one another!
After a successful morning of whale watching, we returned to the ship and headed south toward San Carlos. We were aided by pilot Sergio Camacho, who used his local knowledge to skillfully navigate National Geographic Sea Bird through the shallow channel. Some of us spent the afternoon of cruising on deck, looking for birds amongst the mangroves. As an added bonus, we were treated to intermittent visits from the local bottlenose dolphins, who sped over to the ship and rode the pressure wave created by our bow, surfing below our feet and leaping out of the water.
Later in the afternoon, we reached Sand Dollar Beach, where our guests went ashore to explore the beautiful sand dunes. Many of us made the short journey across the powder-soft dunes to reach the Pacific Ocean. On the way, we enjoyed photographing the dune plants and shell middens. The ocean side of the beach offered seemingly endless beachcombing. We delighted in sharing many interesting shells with one another and, of course, the beautiful, large sand dollars that give the place its name! Leaving all the shells on the beach for the next visitors to enjoy, we hiked back across the dunes and reboarded National Geographic Sea Bird for our farewell dinner. The dining room was full of laughter as we reminisced about our unforgettable days with the amazing, friendly gray whales of Baja California.