Glassy waters greeted us this morning in Magdalena Bay. Located in the southwestern corner of the Baja Peninsula, the abundance of fish attracts a variety of other marine life. Cormorants, pelicans, dolphins, sea lions, and even a sea turtle were seen from the bow as we cruised the bay just after sunrise. It wouldn’t be long until the first whales were spotted – gray whales were sighted just as breakfast was served.

Cruising along, the ship headed out of the bay and briefly into the Pacific Ocean. We saw more gray whales and humpback whales, including an obliging female and her calf that couldn’t be more than a few months old. This allowed us to introduce our guests to the most widespread of the baleen whales experienced in this area. Members of the naturalist team shared information on the whales’ life histories, as well as ways to tell the two fairly different species apart from one another. With the open ocean nearby, we had the opportunity to observe seabirds not often seen from shore: pink-footed and black-vented shearwaters, masked boobies, and Craveri’s murrelets were among such species.

Feeling satisfied with our mammals and birds, the ship made its way back into the bay, anchoring along a remote barrier island around lunchtime. Promptly after lunch, Zodiac shuttles zipped back and forth from the fantail, dropping off staff and guests onto Sand Dollar Beach for an afternoon and evening on a barrier island. Guests joined naturalists for a variety of interpretive walks. They explored the seashore for marine life, as well as the expansive dune system. One group had an intimate moment with a coyote. Another group joined the photography instructor to explore dunes and document shell middens, evidencing how past peoples found a way to find food along the shoreline.

Following afternoon walks, we convened on the section of beach where we had been dropped off. Waiting for us was a complete beach BBQ, hosted by members of the crew. We toasted with margaritas and Pacificos over yet another unique Baja sunset. The last guests arrived back at the ship just after sunset, freshening up for an evening presentation by gray whale enthusiast and naturalist, Berit.