The mighty north wind began to settle as National Geographic Venture slipped into the lee of Isla San Jose, nestled near the eastern shores of the Baja California Peninsula. The morning sun caught the jagged mountain peaks of the island before coming to rest on the ship. Life began to stir aboard as guests attended stretch class on the sundeck or headed to the bow to take in the beautiful scenery. Soon after breakfast finished, Zodiacs began to shuttle guests to shore where a warm and sandy beach awaited them. The first group set off on an aerobic hike up a well-defined arroyo that carved its way east through the sedimentary rock that makes up much of the island. Guests enjoyed the shade provided by palo blancos, ironwood trees, and cardon cacti. An endemic species of Xantus’s hummingbird filled the air with high pitched trills and whistles as they assisted in the desert pollination. Some of the more casual hikers combed the beach for remnants of reef fish and coral.

After hiking and some time on the beach, the day continued as National Geographic Venture weighed anchor and set sail for an area nicknamed “the Golden Triangle.”  This upwelling zone near Isla Santa Catalina is an excellent place to look for charismatic megafauna. Sure enough, after a short search, naturalists on the bow spotted not one but five blue whales! These are the largest animals to ever live on Earth. Guests enjoyed a magnificent showing of one of the planet’s most incredible creatures. The last day of the trip wrapped up with recaps at cocktail hour and a delicious dinner.

IMAGE: National Geographic Venture at sea.