Today we journeyed from National Geographic Venture, docked in Santa Rosalia, to the smallest of the grey whale birthing and calving lagoons on the Pacific side of the Baja California Peninsula. The official census for California grey whales was last done on March 20th of this year, showing 9 grey whales left inside the lagoon. In the end we saw 5 of these nine, two mothers and their calves and a lone individual. Today it was not about how plentiful the whales were in the lagoon, but rather about how playful the calves were with our boats. Time and again one particular calf would show curiosity towards our boats, approaching to be rubbed, scratched, and connected with. Just who is watching whom in these encounters?

Our naturalist, Dan Baldwin, summed it up best when he wrote about our day, given at recap tonight:

“Seeing grey whales in the lagoons is a profound experience. It moves you beyond your sense of self, opening gateways to new perceptions. People express joy and wonder with an exuberance of youth, social formalities break down. Feelings of empathy and compassion for mother and calf. Not so much knowing or understanding, as it is about feeling and connecting.”

What a whale of a day!