We awoke today to a splendid sunrise over Bahia Magdalena. After a delicious breakfast, we headed out to look for gray whales in Bahia Almejas. Local certified guides picked us up in their pangas and took us to the best places to view these majestic creatures. And boy, did they deliver! As we traveled deeper into the bay, it became apparent that we were indeed in whale soup. In every direction we looked, we could see the heart-shaped blows of gray whales. As we came to a stop, we looked around and saw that we were surrounded by adult gray whales engaged in mating behaviors. The whales traveled in tight groups of two to five, and they were rolling, splashing, and circling. And they were curious! We were treated to quite a show as several friendly whales came right up to the boat, scratched themselves on the hull, blew seawater in our faces, and showed off their barnacles. It was quite a spectacle to witness, and we were grateful.

We returned to National Geographic Venture and ate another scrumptious meal as the boat repositioned farther north in Bahia Magdalena. We learned new photography tips and tricks during an iPhone /smartphone photography seminar from our certified photo instructor, Brooke. With everyone ready to try out their new photo skills, we set off for a late afternoon hike across the dunes of Isla Magdalena to Sand Dollar Beach. The low light cast beautiful shadows across the windswept dunes. We learned about the lives of the hearty plants that grow in shifting substrates and examined ancient shell middens left behind by the Cochimi as we made our way to the Pacific. We were greeted with a wide-open beach covered in sand dollars, coyote tracks, and shells galore. Upon returning, we shared stories about our day over dinner and finished the evening with a presentation from our bird expert Alex entitled, “Birds of the Sand and Sea.” It was another amazing day on National Geographic Venture.