We are approaching the end of spring and it’s definitely the best time of year to spot mobula rays, whale sharks, and tons of whales in the Sea of Cortez! We are reminded of this consistently as Katie the pilot and I are taking off to head Cerralvo channel, wherein a matter of 15-20 minutes we find huge mobula aggregations and the giants of the ocean, the blue whales! Every single time that we are in the air is not the same, and we are as thrilled and full of adrenaline just as our guests down below on the tender, following our directions to have the best marine wildlife encounter of their lives!
We were fortunate enough this first week to find whales pretty much every day: pairs of mother and calves of humpbacks breaching out and playing, blue whales, fin whales, and even a gray whale! Aside from these, we were surprised to have found a couple of pregnant whale sharks as well! Pods of dolphins and mobulas aggregations are in our daily sightings.
It’s not rare to have spotted so many whales in our way while patrolling the Sea of Cortez, since Baja host 39% of the world’s cetacean species! According to Dr. Jorge Urban, there exist three main factors why the Gulf of California it’s rich and abundant for marine mammals: 1) the waters in the Sea of Cortez have a high rate of primary productivity that supports complex and productive food webs (ex. the great abundance of pray resource krill, that allows the presence of blue whales and fin whales!); 2) the complex topography and oceanography that leads to a diversity of habitats, allowing the presence of coastal and oceanic species, as well as species of tropical and temperate waters. And 3) the calm warm waters during winter and spring, that are used by migratory species, such as humpbacks that give birth and nurse their calves here every year!
The summer is just starting and Katie and I are eager to see what wildlife encounters this season have in store for our guests. There’s no better way to connect with nature than getting in the water with these humble creatures of the Sea of Cortez!
- Naturalist Scarlett onboard the Nautilus Gallant Lady