National Geographic Sea Bird Cruise Review
Itinerary: Among the Great Whales - February 2013
Thank you for the bottle of wine! We enjoyed the trip very much. It was just as you described it would be. It was excellent for Bill with his limited walking: he was able to do all the significant activities.
As you noted, the whales were abundant, and, those in Magdalena Bay, very friendly. It is certainly a unique experience to have a whale calf come right up to the little zodiac boat, swimming around and under it for some minutes, allowing people to touch it. That happened three or four times in Magdalena Bay. Seeing the whales breach is an awesome sight, which we saw over and over, sometimes fairly close by.
The ship was smaller than I had expected (under 60) which had the benefit of greater camaraderie among the "guests". The naturalists were all super sweet, enthusiastic, and well-informed. The shore nature walks took us among very beautiful landscapes. We were fortunate that it had rained a few months prior, which turned the desert into a colorful scene full of greenery and wildflowers, set against red sandstone rock formations sculpted by erosion into sensuous forms.
The food was uneven-- improving to become very good-to-excellent by the last night. I was really glad we booked the biggest cabin size, Category 3, # 214, because it was very cramped, but at least we could move around--taking turns to get past each other. On the plus side, it was well designed for maximum use of the space.
I was apprehensive about snorkeling in such cold water, but it worked because they were checking on me when we were trying on wet-suits for size. I would have picked one too big. What I learned is that you need to get one that is very snug, like a girdle, that lets you breathe, but barely. I was comfortably in the water for about 45 minutes suited up like that. I also recommend a lycra dive suit/rash guard: those without one were stung by invisible tiny jellyfish.
I would recommend taking the route we did, starting in LaPaz, rather than the reverse, because the best whale-watching was definitely at the end.
Feel free to use any of this to entice others to this trip. It was a very good one.
Please advise of other trips you think would work for my husband: i.e. ones he could enjoy without much walking.
—Ellen and Bill , California