"The full-throttled leap of a female Pacific gray whale was heard before it was seen from our small panga bobbing in the lagoon. Her giant splash reverberated through the shallow waters of Magdalena Bay like a meteor exploding into Earth. We are close enough to the hulking mammal to see the barnacles on her back and feel the spray from her blow hole. Her month old baby floats beside her. Our three day whale watching adventure is just beginning and yet, it has already exceeded my expectations!"