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!