Sunrise was beautiful near the small port of San Carlos as we began the last day of January. We boarded coaches for a scenic drive to Lopez Mateos. Near a pier busy with fishing vessels, we observed a constant swirl of pelicans, cormorants and gulls on the lookout for any opportunity to grab a snack.

Everyone hopped into local pangas. The local panga drivers know these whales, and they carefully maneuvered the vessels through calm and rough waters to provide guests with great views. Almost immediately, we saw a gray whale mother with her newborn calf. This gray whale mother was observed without a calf three days ago, so we knew this was a newborn baby.

After some spectacular views of this cow/calf pair, the pangas headed past the sand dunes. We spotted herons, egrets, pelicans, gulls and many other birds as we moved to another area with more gray whales. In the channel leading to the open Pacific, we observed numerous gray whales spouting and spyhopping. There were so many whales that it was difficult to know where to look or point your camera.

On the way back to the dock, several groups spent time with a pod of dolphins while others took in more of the abundant birdlife. It was a great day to be on the water.

We left Lopez Mateos to enjoy a great lunch at a local restaurant before returning to National Geographic Venture in the afternoon. Right before we started recap, several bottlenose dolphins decided to ride the waves on the bow. The more time you spend outside, the more wildlife you will see!