National Geographic Sea Lion watched the sun rise on a clear day, beginning our exploration of Bahia Almejas.

Our group was ferried by “pangueros,” local Mexican panga drivers from the community of Puerto Chale, a village inside Bahia Magdelena. The pangueros acted as our captains during our whale watching day, as they hold the necessary permits in an extremely restricted observation area within Bahia Almejas. Activity was immediately spotted in the distance—the mating behavior of gray whales! The radios were full of chatter as we all watched the commotion.

To end a perfect day of whale watching, we observed a chorus line of gray whales — they were observed “standing” on their flukes and allowing the tidal current to push them over. As many as five whales would be “standing” or spyhopping; it was obvious to us that the whales were playing in the current!

Everyone enjoyed being on calm seas in the company of wildlife in a remote and wild place often called “the desert by the sea.”