As the morning light gently painted the clouds above, we awoke surrounded by the Pacific Ocean. National Geographic Venture gently rocked in the mistral swell as we journeyed southbound towards the cape of Baja California Sur. The waves lapped the sides of the ship, adding a pleasant soundtrack to the beginning of our day.

There are few things I enjoy as much as a day at sea. At any moment, wildlife could pop up seemingly out of nowhere and disappear just as quickly along the horizon. This pattern would be the theme of the day, glimpses of the ocean’s residents as they carried on about their lives in the open sea. All day long pelagic seabirds passed by the ship, showing their mastery of the ocean’s winds as they sheared above the waves. Phalaropes, fulmars, boobies, shearwaters, tropicbirds, jaegers, and storm-petrels showcased the dazzling diversity we can find in this seemingly uniform landscape.

On the horizon we spotted a pod of dolphins, likely reaching over a hundred strong, heading directly for the ship. We had a wonderful time watching the long-beaked common dolphins ride the pressure wave of our bow in playful displays, audibly clicking and squeaking the whole way. It’s always exciting seeing these marine mammals play with our ship, surfacing skillfully and fully breaching for stunning experiences.

In the distance we spotted several humpback whales, elusively surfacing for quick and trying views. These giants seemed to be on their way south, perhaps to their wintering grounds where we will hopefully meet them. On the ship we had a continuous stream of activities; our naturalists gave presentations on seabirds and whales and, in a more light-hearted vein, we held trivia and painting complimented with delicious snacks and drinks.

After a glorious sunset illuminated the swaths of clouds in shades of reds and purples, we heard stories from our staff during recap about how the ocean has captivated us all in many ways. For myself, a day in the Pacific is truly a treasure, and today was an incredible day proving this.