Moderate seas and wind along with clear skies and sun greeted us as we journeyed by pangas to Bahía Almejas after breakfast. The bahía is where gray whales mate (earlier in the season), and immature males and females ‘hang out.’ Newly pregnant females quickly migrate back to the North Pacific, and immature ones swim back-and-forth with the tides for a month or so before they also begin the northbound migration. This morning, the whales put on a ‘whale’ of a show! Many were spotted: some spyhopping, others rolling over each other, still others just swimming. We were very fortunate in that a few curious immature whales approached the pangas, allowing some of us to get the coveted ‘touch’ while others were sprayed with the whale’s exhalent ‘kiss.’ On the way back to National Geographic Sea Bird for lunch, we passed by a large concentration of seabirds on a sand spit. Surprisingly, we spotted an immature bald eagle regally standing on the sand. A visit to the frigatebird colony rounded out the morning.
After lunch, we did it again, as did the whales. Our afternoon in Bahía Almejas provided another opportunity to view several spyhopping whales, along with two spectacular breaches. A few whales swam back and forth under the pangas, giving unique views of their tremendous length and girth. And of course, some surfaced alongside the pangas to permit more touching and ‘kisses.’
Following a presentation about gray whales and recaps, we enjoyed traditional Mexican cuisine as part of the Mexican Festival Night. The evening was capped off by a classic piñata ceremony on the sun deck. The successful destruction by a blindfolded Global Explorer released lots of candy and other items to the enjoyment of all!
No question: it was a grand first day to our expedition!