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Baja Mexico Whales: February 25 - March 3 2014 Trip Report

Grey Whales - Baja Mexico Whales: February 25 - March 3 2014 Trip Report

Seven Day Gray and Blue Whale watching tour!

We finally made it to the newest observation area in Laguna Ojo de Liebre, Baja Mexico with my group; playing with the most amazing Gray whales!!!!

We had to depart San Diego at 4:00am to arrive at the new camp on the beach before the park closed.

These whales are incredible, they come right up to the boat so you can touch and kiss them,, the mommy is huge and the baby is big also… they are simply amazing how they love human contact! WE had the lucky karma boat,,,, I was up to my armpits with whale love and they are so silky soft the Gray whales have gorgeous spotted mottled bodies and the mommy's have barnacles that make lovely patterns!!

I am in awe,,, today our first day… truly awesome! We have now had 2 times out with them today, our first day!!!

I have seen pictures of people touching and kissing them…. However to be here, to be in these small boats that are 1/3 the size of the mommy is spellbinding,,,, our first afternoon we had the maximum size Gray whale mommy, her girth was like 4 wine barrels, shocking and she and the baby come with faces together right to me!

I am learning my Gopro on a stick and who knows what I am getting …. Thank God Pat got great pics of me with the whales, I have had a smile so big on my face all day it HURTS!!

I HAVE been sprayed from 8 inches away strait into my face with the blow holes, totally drenched and up my nostrils as I am laughing so hard and talking to my big babies!!!! They come right up to the side of the boat and turn their heads to the side so they can see us!!! Their eye balls 1 foot from me,, they spy hop right beside us… their skin oh so velvety soft and the joy you feel is beyond anything I can even begin to describe!!

Our first outing this morning at about 945am… all I prayed for was that one out of our 4 whale trips to see them, we get one with the Grays before heading to the Sea of Cortez. I pray that we just get one chance to have that touching kissing interaction that I see and advertised on our website!! Please God,,, just one is all I ask!!!

Well hells bells…… after we get out after observing hundreds of spouting whales,, last count in this bay from the researchers, was 925 babies, nearly a record and 2800 total whales… in 5 min we had our mom and baby approach us!

I just got this new Gopro, no clue how to use it or exactly how to use it; the on - off switch and or the record!

Grey Whale Watching
by Paul Statham

Within a short few minutes we had the mommy and baby at our side begging for love and attention!! I was beyond belief and shock!! The interactions we continued to have for this entire day was beyond anything I ever expected or witnessed from my most beloved whales!! The entire reason at the age of 9 yrs old I joined Jacques Cousteau society and Greenpeace!!! This is why I became a diver!!! My beloved Whales!!! And here I am hugging and kissing and up to my armpits in whale love and getting drenched with her whale spouts only inches from my face! Wonderful!

WE had the great karma boat! They stayed with us, they love the sound of the motor idling, and Martin our driver wound do a pounding and they came and stayed!

This afternoon a new development,,,, they were all spy-hopping, so cool!!! We had a baby start to breach next to our boat, to his enjoyment, he kept doing it! OMG! So adorable, he learned something new!!! Mommy was happy to show off her prize and they would come to me and head up and eye ball us so close and turn and roll, could see mommy's nipples low down and me trying to see if the baby was a boy or a girl! A bit difficult to tell but hopefully if I get any good video I will be able to tell! I took so much video but with this stick and no way to know,,, we shall see! I may need the next lifetime to edit .

I am locked up with emotion again, nature has a way of doing this to me! I never even half expected to interact and experience this magnificent embrace with these gorgeous mammals that can crave this human attention as much as we can crave the need and desire to be a part of their world for these few hours! The trust they show us, after all those years of killing and slaughter! This is true love and purity as I have never seen before! These mommy's so proud of their babies, wanting to share the love and be loved!

What sort of lesson is here for us!!!

Beach Camping - Baja Mexico Whales: February 25 - March 3 2014 Trip ReportWe head back to the new beach camp, with shared toilets and showers. The tents are very close to the water on the beach, a lovely setting and I highly recommend staying in these with the upgrade cost to the hotel in town. The ride from town is about 40 min in the morning when we are a stones throw away from the launching of the boats.

We meet in the mess tent for drinks and our meals. Patti is an excellent cook making mouth watering Mexican food that you cannot find outside of Mexico! Her menu, preparation and presentation stupendous!

Breakfasts offered many choices cooked to order. Lunches wonderful salands and a variety of Mexican dishes. One outstanding meal was created by Keith our operator, It is like Chili Rellano but made with cactus instead!! Stuffed with cheese and ham, who knew? The special sauce on top made with sweet peppers, tomato and onion cooked, OUTSTANDING!

Exceptional guacamole and salsa. I could go on an on about the food they served, oh and a full bar and Mexican beer!

Sleeping was lovely as you drift off to the sound of the water lapping on the shore, ahhh.

Day two, today was much windier, we had a much different yet very special day with the whales. This was a spy hopping day! Hundreds of whales spy hopping all over the bay, moms showing the babies how to spy hop and babies having too much fun! It was like the 'MEMO' went out. I mean every whale in the bay where spy-hopping and somewhere breaching!

We only had a few fast encounters with moms and babies, fast love I called it! sheesh a bit stingy after yesterday! However they had lessons to learn and so they did. Our boat driver took us to this very special area of they bay they call it the 'bubble' area. It has standing water (similar to what I row on in San Francisco bay sometimes). It is cooler water here near the mouth of the Ocean. The bay gets too warm for the mommy's sometimes, after all they come clear down from the bottom of the Arctic Circle. They have the longest commute of any whale.

Baja Mexico Whales: February 25 - March 3 2014 Trip ReportWe watched very interesting behavior with the whales in this area. They play in the deep ripping upwelling water. There was mating happening also, lots of rolling around. Witnessing dappled pectoral fins, a lot of white means scar tissue. Could be from Killer whales trying to get them. Some of the white markings are from feeding in the Arctic as they eat amphapods, little shrimp like crustaceans. The whales have a pointy shape face which allows them to dig into the sea bottom to dig up the food. As we saw the whales so close to us, they would turn over and you can then see the shape of their mouth which is very flat and narrow at the bottom, interesting! I would love to see them feeding!

We had 4 visits in 2 days, morning and after lunch, from 2 to 3 hrs each visit, just amazing to be out on the water loaded with Gray whales!

That first day with our amazing encounters, so much love and emotion, it was pure. It was awe-inspiring, I was so pent up with emotion, I felt like a volcano ready to erupt!

The skin of the whales is so soft, like wet fine leather. The mommy has a multitude of barnacles on her skin that make for very interesting patterns and designs. They are the only whale that has varied color and mottling, they are most interesting to look at. The babies are more dark charcoal gray-black. It just amazed me how unafraid of us they were. Completely trusting, and rolling over so we could touch their bellies and underside.

Why after so many years of whaling, being slaughtered by boats. How is it, they have forgotten and or forgiven? They are very intelligent animals, I am assuming in their collective memories, they were not slaughtered in this special bay!

We were sad to leave our tents on the beach and our loving adoring Gray whales, onto a new and different experience as we head east and south to Loreto to search out the elusive giant Blue Whale, the largest whale of the sea!

Blue Whales - Baja Mexico Whales: February 25 - March 3 2014 Trip ReportIt was a very interesting drive with the landscape changing rapidly. Lovely to get to the lovely blue Sea of Cortez, stopping for lunch at a lovely Taqueria.

Wonderful dinners at great restaurants in this adorable town of Loreto, I really liked this town! We were ready to meet our boat at 8:00am the next morning, a lovely walk from our hotel to the marina. We had a nice small boat with a canopy for the 6 of us and captain. The whale gods are with us, the seas are flat and no wind our first day, the best way to spot whales!

We went far south along Isla del Carmen and Isla Monserrat,,,, hmmmmm where are they? Naturally they were all here yesterday! Not a whale to be seen. However we had wonderful dolphins, large schools of Pacific white sided dolphins by the hundreds, coming to join us and bow riding with us, what fun, they are so gorgeous!! We were literally surrounded by hundred's of them! They were leaping and jumping and turning sideways at the bow to watch me, this is so much fun!!! I just squeal with delight, how wonderful dolphins make us feel! They are great fun and they never tired of us. We came across a humpback whale with many photographic fluke opportunities. And of course more dolphins! Hmmmmm but where are the elusive Blue's? We left the south, our captain said 'empty water'. We went back up north looking and looking for a needle in a haystack as it seemed as the hours carried on. We went further into the sea.. I now had been doing my visualizing of our mighty Big Blue,,,, we have to see our Big Blue, they had been seeing 6 to 10 of them daily!! Where are they?

We find out later that 3 days ago they were here and now they had not seen any whales for the last 2 days,, it is March 1st,they are normally here through March, being peak Blue Whale season. With all the extreme weather that the entire world has been enduring this winter/summer, it was also affecting Baja, it should have been much colder but it was lovely. So that means the water is probably too warm and too warm for the whales so they all left in one fell swoop! The Blues, the Bryde's and the Fin Back whales! So I was praying to every whale god I could think of, trying not to beg, 'we are here for you, please come to us' working so hard visualizing our Big Blue to appear!! Where are you?

I am perched at the bow and see a very calm show Mako swim right up to us, I had thrown one side of my sandwich bread over board and it appears he was curious, what a gorgeous shark, he looks like a mini great white shark! How cool, we have never seen a Mako shark before.

We also had hundreds of jumping Mobula Mantas putting on a show for us all day! It got to the point where we would just smile and laugh, they were everywhere, and some doing flips and twists and turns, all showing off! This place is wild!

Blue whales have the tallest spout of any whale, strait up by 30 ft. cannot miss it! Then off on the far horizon as it is getting later in the day now, just as I open a beer, Paul spots a tall spout!!! Off we go,, I am motioning to our driver GOOOOOO,,, sheesh it was far away! Seemed like it took forever! We found this amazing 90ft full grown gorgeous big Blue Whale. For the next 1.5 hrs we played cat and mouse and eventually got closer and closer to this magnificent ginormous, largest mammal of the water world! How fun,,, Pat had everything crossed and still holding her breath. Even the dinosaurs were not this big our driver told us!

She spouted tall and proud as her body surfaced and seemingly it went on forever! At the end we got very close, we could see the huge footprint first then the 30ft spout then the whale head, huge!!! The sound of this whale so close is something I will never forget, a long slow deep guttural sound, like no other whale sound on earth. The blow sound is long as she expels the giant capacity of her lungs to breathe again. A large part of her body comes up out of the sea; however an even longer part you never see is still a long way behind! It is mind blowing to be beside this monolithic creature. The light blue water is witness to the extreme length that is still a part of this magnificent being. The heart is the size of a Volkswagen beetle, the aorta is so large a child can stand up in it! This is completely incomprehensible, thank you to all the Blue Whale gods for this gift of the sea. Our driver as we are finally leaving her says 'this is the last Blue whale in Loreto!" how true!

Blue Whale Watching
by Paul Statham

Our last day on the water was a bit different the wind had come up so we had rough seas, which makes it very hard to spot whales. We did see a blue whale spout but it was traveling the opposite direction at 20kt and our boat can only do 11kt so no chance to catch it. We did have some lovely humpback whales, many in fact and very close, they are gorgeous easy to get close to so we had lots of fun with them, 5 in total!

We then went to this beautiful island near Loreto called Isla Coronado, we circled the island and found sea lions and birds, we beached and walked on the sand had our lunch in a very idyllic setting. The bay was calm, the sun warm and the scenery lovely.

This is how we ended our spectacular Gray and Blue Whale expedition, what more could we ask for?

This is a trip that is so easy to do, close for us in the USA, the Mexican people are so warm and friendly, the food beyond delish, and the whales our true patriots of the sea.

I will certainly go back, what a trip of the heart!!

Cindi LaRaia

Blue Whales - Baja Mexico Whales: February 25 - March 3 2014 Trip ReportBlue Whales - Baja Mexico Whales: February 25 - March 3 2014 Trip Report