Thursday, March 14, 2013

Whale Watching in Bahia San Ignacio

We Petted Gray Whales today, live, in the water, Gray Whales! 
This was a truly, one of the most memorable experiences of my life!
The adventure started as we were exploring a town called Santa Rosalia, on the Sea of Cortez. We were shooting pool at a local bar we had seen earlier, and it turned out every one wanted to play a game of pool with us. That is, one of my three crew mates, Barry, a very congenial man of about 74 years old, who has been coming down to Baja for many years, after sailing much of the Pacific Ocean for 20 odd years.
We had been asking around to find out were the whales were calving and were told you needed to cross over to the Pacific side of Baja to see this incredible sight.
The next morning I ask the manager of the Marina, where my boat the Jolly Roger is docked, if she knew how we could arrange this journey to the Pacific coast of Baja to see the wales calf. Isabel said she had taken her children there a couple of times and it was very exciting for them to pet the whales. I did wonder if this is not something “we “as mankind should be doing, and at the same time was very excited about the prospect of actually touching one of these magnificent creature in the wild.
Barry was flying back to Guaymas the next day and could not go, but Phillip and Ted , said they were very interested in going along.
We left the next morning at 5:30 AM, and caught  a bus to San Ignacio, on the main road, Rt one , UP the Baja peninsula. After arriving we called our tour company “Baja expeditions (one of five tour companies leading whale watching tours), and they picked us up , and drove us to the Pacific Coast.
We were met by a guide who explained the safety requirements and were split into three groups of six or seven, soon we were in a 20 foot fiberglass boat with an 80 HP outboard motor, driven be a young man who drove us out to the calving ground of the Gray whales.
I still did not believe that we would actually touch a whale to day, as the guide said every one does not get to pet a whale, it is the luck of the draw. So we can see other boats near by and whales very close by, and passengers splashing the water, as our guide explained it attracts the babies to the boat. I felt we were being made fools of , on some level, but sure enough, soon we saw a mother and baby whale approaching the boat, the baby were 20 feet long and the mothers were 40 to 45 feet, it was rather intimidating, as the guide said, the flukes of the mother could throw our entire boat and US, way into the air, with hardly any thought involved.
We splashed the water and soon the baby blue whale stuck his nose right next to our boat so we could rub its nose, I am still in awe that we did this over and over with a number of different mother and babies. We were told 180 pairs of mother and babies were in the San Ignacio Lagoon, plus some males still trying to have their way with the moms. 
Note from Phillip: we spent time both in Guaymas and Santa Rosalia (an old mining town started by the French in 1885) before going whale watching. The other photos in this album are from those places.


1 comment:

Don Peck said...

Wow that is awesome! My good friend Michael Ellis is actually in the same bay with these creatures and our mutual friend Kurt I know has much to say on your interaction. What an extraordinary experience. You indeed are blessed. Hello from Elizabeth and Don to the crew of Jolly Rroger.