We had an incredible day in Bahia Almejas, the southern bay within Bahia Magdelena. We spent time with more gray whales than we could count. Our permitted pangueros, local fishermen from Puerto Chale, have exceptional knowledge about navigating this sometimes challenging area. With Isla Santa Margarita in the background, we watched and photographed gray whales spyhop, breach, mate, and swim right up to the side of our pangas. We had a rare day where 100% of our guests got the honor of touching a whale with up to seven whales around our boats at one time. The look on the children's faces after having such a special experience was the highlight of the day for our staff. Due to lucky timing and a high morning tide, we were able to travel back to National Geographic Sea Bird via an inside mangrove passage, allowing us to see multiple bird species including herons, cormorants, and brown pelicans. This high tide allowed us to get close and personal with the magnificent frigatebird colony of Isla Santa Margarita. We even got to see some males with their red gular pouches inflated as they tried to attract the females. We ended our night with a Mexican fiesta on board while passengers and staff shared photos, videos, and favorite moments of the day with each other.
National Geographic Sea Lion
It will be a struggle to produce a combination of words fit to describe the spectacle of whale activity we witnessed today, but here I endeavor to bring said combination forth. Simply put, the day was sublime. A breezy, overcast morning greeted us as we embarked on a whale watching expedition that sent pangas in many different directions pursuing disparate whales all engaged in a variety of activity. Many rolled at the surface exposing their pectoral fins, some sent their rostrums skyward in elegant spy-hops, and others still cozied up to our pangas for minutes that felt like eons. During our brief lunch reprieve, the breeze calmed and the clouds lifted, setting a sunny scene for our afternoon excursions. Though a tough act to follow, our second round of whale watches were the greatest of my career. Roughly 50 gray whales coalesced in a mating season spectacular. The animals rolled atop one another, breached as many as six times in rapid succession, darted in every direction, and brushed past our boats close enough for many explorers to touch their rostrums. One individual brought its rostrum directly against the starboard side of our panga as if begging for a petting. It was an unbelievably moving affair.