The Whales of San Ignacio

Whale Surfacing

Whale Surfacing

This week we cross the border and take a trip into the Baja peninsula. It is time for the whales to enjoy winter in the sun along the Baja. Here is our story.

Each winter from November through April, an awe inspiring event takes place along the Pacific Shoreline.

A primeval calling brings forth the oldest known mammal migration. Leaving the cold Arctic waters of the Bering Sea, Pacific Gray Whales make their way South to the remote warm water lagoons of Mexico’s Baja peninsula.

It is in these remote lagoons that the continuation of life of these mighty giants occurs. Although hunted to the brink of extinction only a few decades ago, Pacific Gray Whales have made a remarkable comeback from an estimated few thousand animals world wide to a recently estimated population of 25,000 animals.

At San Ignacio Lagoon, man and these giant Gray Whales have formed a unique and peaceful relationship. Dubbed as “The Friendlies” by the locals because of their curious and gentle nature, they often approach the skiffs to interact with the people on board. These friendly Gray Whales actually seek out human interaction.

 

Often, mothers with calves will approach the skiffs to present their calves to you, encouraging you to scratch their backs and baleen as they lounge around the skiffs. Over the years, this extraordinary behavior has become a regular occurrence only at San Ignacio Lagoon. It is this trusting gesture of friendship that makes a visit to San Ignacio Lagoon a once in a lifetime, spiritual experience.

Last year’s trip was truly unforgettable occasion. The whales WANT TO BE PETTED!

At one point, our boat was surrounded by not one – but THREE PAIRS of mothers and babies, all looking for a comforting stroke from our outstretched hands. I’ve never seen anything like this.

For reasons known only to the Whales and God, the Gray Whale comes here each year not only to bear it’s young, but also to seek out human contact. It is one thing to pet a whale in a Sea Park or watch it through glass. It is nothing like being on the open ocean and having a thirty foot whale gently take your hand in it’s mouth while it looks you in the eye. I have touched and petted dozens of whales. I have had them bring their babies up to me, proud as any mother can be. I have watched them nurse and have been fluke slapped for getting too close while they mated.

At night, we fall asleep listening to them blow outside our tent while coyotes howl at the moon. At low tide, I like to walk through the lagoon, looking for the tiny octopus that dig into the sand and mark their boundary by piling stones outside their entrancess. I have watched Osprey carry off rabbits and coyotes catch clams by sticking their tail into the shell when it breathes, then taking it to a rock and smashing it open.

God works His magic in San Ignacio Lagoon, and it is why I will be there again next year.

 

 

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I hope everyone enjoyed this week’s story. Before you go please be sure and check out our list of products on the right under our blogroll. Just click on any of the links that interest you and you will travel to that products website. Everyone have a safe and productive week and we will see you next week with a new adventure