In nature, borders are fluid and transition zones dynamic, as we are discovering on our voyage along the Pacific Coast. We traveled from the cool temperate waters of the California Coast to the warm, tropical waters of Baja California Sur. We have seen communities of fish, including the orange Garibaldi of the northern kelp forests and the bright reef fishes of the southern coral.
As we crossed the Tropic of Cancer this morning, we moved into the tropics. A warm, humid wind welcomed us as we rounded the cape of the Baja Peninsula toward the Sea of Cortez, signaling our official entry into an ecosystem defined by arid desert mountains, lush freshwater oases, and abundant ocean waters. To begin our exploration, we landed in the town of San Jose del Cabo, where guests discovered the natural and cultural history of the peninsula’s southernmost point. Some walked through the estuary, an oasis in the desert to a huge diversity of bird life. Others took a historical tour of the town center with stops at the Catholic mission and an artisan glass blowing factory, both glimpses into a culture that thrives here in the heat of the desert.
The tropics provide perfect conditions for marine megafauna; humpback whales migrate over 4,000 miles from summer feeding grounds in Alaska to take advantage of warm ocean waters as they give birth to their young. When we returned to the ship later in the day, we spotted multiple groups of these gentle giants almost immediately. A mother and newborn calf calmly swam along the surface while another group of four adult males tail-slapped and lunged in displays of competition. Simultaneously, bottlenose dolphins swam beneath the ship.
All in all, an exciting and dramatic welcome to the warmth of the tropics! We will spend the last two days of the trip breathing it all in.