The beauty of the morning sunrise competed with the soaring silhouettes of brown pelicans and magnificent frigatebirds as guests of National Geographic Venture began their day at the dock in San Carlos. We enjoyed stretch class led by wellness specialist Chrissy on the sundeck. Breakfast followed, and then guests disembarked for the nearby town of Adolfo Lopez Mateo. The drive offered a glimpse of the desert ecosystem and gave our birding guests a chance to spot raptors and passerine birds. The port town of Adolfo Lopez Mateo is located on the northern end of Canal de Soledad, and it is largely inaccessible by ship. With the help of local panga drivers, our guests explored this narrow channel where gray whales raise their newborn calves. After a productive morning of gray whale activity, guests visited the local La Union restaurant for lunch before another round of whale watching in the afternoon. Motorcoaches delivered guests back to National Geographic Venture just in time for dinner.
National Geographic Venture
Puerto Adolfo Lopez Mateos, Baja California Sur
The day began with a lovely stretch class led by our wellness specialist as the sun rose over Bahia Magdalena. National Geographic Venture made its way into Puerto San Carlos, and we watched pelicans swoop and dive near the shore. After a hearty breakfast, we loaded into buses and made our way to Puerto Adolfo Lopez Mateos. The plaza at the docks is always a festive, colorful place, and we were greeted by Mexican music and traditional dancers. One couldn’t help but dance. Excited, we loaded into the pangas of local, certified whale watching guides and set out toward the mouth of Boca de Soledad. On our way, we slowly passed by the mangroves that play such an important role in the immense amount of life found within Bahia Magdalena. Magnificent frigatebirds roosted in the upper branches while double-crested cormorants were seen diving and fishing in the shadows of the trees. We headed out farther into the bay and began to see blows. Several adult gray whales and a few cow/calf pairs dove and logged and blew and swam in the vicinity of our pangas for the rest of the morning…some off in the distance and some close enough to cover our glasses with spray. It was such a special experience to be in this part of the bay where so many pregnant whales come to give birth. All that whale watching caused us to work up an appetite. We went to a restaurant for a delicious, authentic Mexican meal while Los Coyotes, a musical group, serenaded us with traditional tunes. Full and happy, we returned to the plaza to ready ourselves for our afternoon whale watching tours. It’s amazing how much difference just a few hours can make while observing nature. On this trip, we saw less whales, but those we saw came much closer to the boats. The trip ended perfectly with around ten bottlenose dolphins playing across the bow. We returned to National Geographic Venture with great stories and great recaps from our staff to remind us of all the beauty we witnessed that day.