After a calm night sailing south from Magdalena Bay, National Geographic Venture arrived to the peninsula’s southern portion at sunrise. The clear horizon offered perfect conditions for the elusive phenomenon known as the green flash. We eagerly awaited it. Under the right set of conditions, including clear skies and a low horizon, the white light of the first sunrays is refracted into different colors of the spectrum. The atmosphere absorbs most wavelengths except the green and, sometimes, the violet. For a brief moment, the rising sun looks like a little blip of pure emerald green; the same effect can happen in reverse during sunset. The green flash revealed itself this morning amidst joyous exclamations. One will never watch the sunrise in the same way after seeing it, forever hoping to be lucky again!
Shortly afterward, we all admired the beautiful low morning light on Land’s End, the granitic and second-furthest south part of the peninsula. The nearby but less conspicuous Cabo Falso is the actual southernmost landmark. The picturesque arch at Land’s End is a world-famous icon of busy Cabo San Lucas. As we photographed it, the daily commute of sport fishing boats of all sizes sailed past on their way to the open ocean, where they hoped to catch striped marlin, sailfish, dorado or wahoo. This area is well known as one of the main breeding and calving grounds for humpback whales in the North Pacific. We were delighted to spot many of the whales throughout the morning. We took photographs of their beautiful flukes as we watched their intriguing performances, including pectoral fin slapping and breaching.
During the evening, we explored the undersea world of Cabo Pulmo National Park. Snorkelers got the chance to observe a great variety of reef fish and healthy coral. James Hyde and I went deeper by using SCUBA gear to get video footage for everyone to see. We documented huge schools of fish and large individuals of different species of groupers and snappers, evidence of how the area has recovered from overfishing. After the Mexican government declared the area a national park in 1995, Cabo Pulmo is now an encouraging example of how nature can recover if we let her do so. All in all, it was an excellent first day inside the wonderful Sea of Cortez.