National Geographic Venture began the day sailing towards the sunrise with a double rainbow at her stern. Shearwaters skimmed the sea surface, a brown booby flapped its way shoreward, mobula rays leapt into the air, and dolphins met the ship’s bow. The morning was overflowing with good omens, and indeed, we continued to spot an array of different species all day, giving us reason to celebrate marine biodiversity.

We started with full cetacean immersion. First, we spotted bottlenose dolphins, then frolicking humpbacks, and later, a seemingly close-knit group including one gray whale, three humpbacks, several California sea lions, and a pod of dolphins. We cannot verify exactly what incentivizes these species to interact with each other, but we can confirm that watching them play cultivated a pronounced sense of wonder in us all. Later, we encountered more humpbacks, two large mystery fish, and a shark gracefully snaking its way across the surface of a metallic evening sea.

History and ecology were alive in the lounge with two riveting talks, one by Mauro Butrón that focused on the history of the peninsula, and the other by Adrián Cerdá, who focused on the life that thrives around and on the islands. We rounded the southern end of the peninsula, appropriately named “Land’s End,” and eventually passed the tallest peak of Sierra de la Laguna, named San Lázaro for Cortez’s ship on which he sailed when he first viewed the mountain. Later, we passed Cabo San Lucas, named for the first Spanish ship to successfully sail from the Philippines to Mexico.

Today’s journey was nothing short of memorable – many on board National Geographic Venture will be dreaming of ocean exploration, whales, and sinuous sharks slinking into the night.