As the sun began to rise this morning, everyone on National Geographic Venture headed to an early breakfast. We were eager begin our journey to Puerto Lopez Mateos. The buses brought us to a little town on the western coast of Baja California Sur where we visited a lagoon famous for gray whale mothers and their calves.

Everyone loaded into the pangas. As we left the pier, we immediately spotted a mother and calf. Several pangas spent some time with this pair before continuing along the dunes to look for more whales. It did not take long to find more gray whales. It is hard to explain to people who have not yet visited this place that whale-watching can be more difficult when there are many whales to see. As one whale spouts in the distance, another spyhops up to take a look around, and yet another might breathe right behind you. You are afraid to turn in another direction because you might miss something. It is immensely exciting because there is so much going on!

After lunch and a little entertainment at a local restaurant, most of the group returned to the pangas for another round of whale-watching.  Several pangas spent the afternoon with two cow-calf pairs in the vicinity. Others went out further toward the Pacific entrance to the lagoon, where they found many whales. A few people got the chance to touch a gray whale today, and everyone had an incredible experience. I believe most of us felt that this was a truly special experience. It is such a privilege for these wild creatures to choose to interact with us.