Today was a blustery but beautiful day in Baja California Sur. In the morning, we sailed to an amazing mangrove named El Barril. This lush mangrove is such an important ecosystem for nesting and migrating birds as well as fish populations. It is also incredibly important environmentally because mangroves sequester four to five times more carbon than land-based forests. We set out in our Zodiacs in two rounds while one of our naturalists, Shayne Sanders, gave a presentation on Birds of Magdalena Bay for those who remained onboard. It lit the fire for birding and set the stage for the many species we would be seeing later in the day.

After lunch, we pulled the anchor and set sail north along the Hull Canal. This area gets its name from the amount of ships whose hulls have “kissed” the bottom. These shallow waters are difficult to navigate, so we had a local pilot to move the vessel through the channel. We were on the bow all afternoon, spotting 32 different species of birds, as well as coyotes and bottlenose dolphins. Certified photo instructor Jeff Litton gave a presentation on Travel Photography to get us in touch with our cameras before we begin whale-watching tomorrow. Upon getting to our anchor outside of Lopez Mateos, we saw three coyotes foraging along the intertidal area and even saw a gray whale from the ship.

As cocktail hour and recap began, the spirit of adventure was high and smiles were seen on everyone’s face. After a beautiful dinner, we were invited back into the lounge to hear a presentation on the sustainability of small fishing by our guest speaker, Xavier Basurto. It was then off to bed so we could get some sleep before our first whale-watching excursion tomorrow.