Today was our first day of cruising and exploring the beautiful Magdalena Bay. I gave a photo talk in the morning before we cruised the bay, watching dolphins and all manner of birds. Then ace naturalist (and roommate) Jim Coyer gave an excellent talk about grey whales. After arriving to La Boca de Soledad, we boarded smaller boats to go watch the whales close up, and then explored a nearby beach.
National Geographic Sea Bird
The morning found National Geographic Sea Bird anchored in the waters of Boca de Soledad. The nearby lagoon serves as a nursery for newborn grey whales. Mothers often bring their young to these waters to nourish them as they gain weight and strength for the upcoming migration north. Our efforts paid off with the arrival of a docile new mother and her exuberant newborn. For over an hour, we trailed her as she surfaced repeatedly. As they drew near our boats time and time again, we bore witness to the rostrum of the newborn poking up above the water. Soon after, the babe frequently jumped on mom’s back as she passed underneath calmly. It was a perfect day in the sunshine to watch them play with the backdrop of a peninsula covered by sand dunes. It was a hard moment for any of us to leave behind. Later in the morning, many of our guests took walks on the beach to stretch their legs and wander amongst the dunes. It could easily feel as if you were lost in a boundless desert landscape, only to catch a glimpse of National Geographic Sea Bird each time you reached a peak. Exploring this alien landscape is the perfect way to work up an appetite! What a trip it has been already and with such a social group. It was a pleasure to end the day with a mixing event on the beach. The sun set behind the half-moon of chairs facing the water. Chef Eric Seabury and his staff prepared a barbecue feast while a pop-up ‘beach bar’ served mango margaritas alongside wine and beer. A surprise visitor arrived not long after dinner reached its end. Nearly every guest was up and ready to take pictures of the brave coyote that dared to wander closer and closer to camp in search of food. Glasses were raised to our new mascot as friends toasted marshmallows around the bonfire. Darkness had completely taken over by the time the last of us loaded into the Zodiacs to head back to the ship and rest up for another day of exploration.