We had seen our first grey whales from a distance last summer in Alaska but we have always wanted to visit the birth capital of the whales before they grew up and started their long journey back. And here we are at San Ignacio Lagoon fulfilling our dreams to be with the whales and their calves.
We had undertaken this journey after a lot of research, not only the location where we would be guaranteed calf and whale sightings but also our accommodation and logistics. We chose the luxury tent up in Baja Expeditions as we figured that staying there for a few days would get us close to the whales, the main reason for us coming here. But we got much more than we bargained for. Everything was planned down to the last detail and the hospitality provided by Jesus the captain and Roberto as Naturalist along with Adriana and Ramiro on service, the Nautilus concierge, to the camp manager Laurentia was stellar.
Memories for a Lifetime – Whale Watching at San Ignacio Lagoon
Memories upon memories pile up as we undertook whale-watching sessions each day. Every day was different and no two sessions were the same. We see different behaviors of whales, and different water and weather conditions. All these factors make every boat trip a great experience.
A Fascinating Start to Our Trip
As soon as we arrived at the observation area, we found a group of at least six whales socializing in the same spot! Calves were chasing one another, breaching several times close to our pangas, and rolling and playing while their mothers hung around and kept a close eye on them. Although we had rocky waters, we had a blast observing these energetic clumsy toddlers in their natural habitat, the kindergarten of San Ignacio Lagoon.
Not only that, Tony and Tito made us feel that we were a part of their tribe of whales. We played with the creatures so intimately that they let us caress our tongues. What more can you need in life? There was more to come. “Sabrina”, a gigantic female whale turned on its belly and moved around the boat in circles. It must have liked us a lot as it looked us straight in the eye. Finally, we got closer but did not touch the baby who was blowing bubbles. He also had a white eye patch. We baptized it “Bubble”, Tony told us that we might see Bubble again in a few years if we are lucky but even then, I will clearly remember this day.
When I look back, I realize that it was not the whales that made this experience so exhilarating. The attention, the facilities, the staff, the food, the outings to the lagoons, and the relationship with the pioneer families and the locals that we built up at the camp contributed to the fun in equal measure.
The perspective of the guides and captains of local families is important. Tony, Tito, and Ramiro showed us their culture, their relationship with nature, and their knowledge of the sea, the land, and the animals with which they share life. Ranulfo is also a special character, his knowledge, and personality convey the culture and philosophy of the population of this territory.
This town is made up of fishermen who have become the gods and protectors of all living species in this ecosystem. I would like to eat what they eat and sleep as they sleep. The food and facilities are as impressive as they can possibly be.
A Surreal Experience – Whales Respond to Our Call
Today I went out with a group of 7 people. We departed at 7:45 in two sessions. The whales were very friendly in the first session and the second was even better as they stayed with us for about 40 minutes. We went to the beach for a short break and out again and the whales were still around.
After lunch, we went out for a couple of sessions with the whales, and both times it was an experience of a lifetime. The Moms and the babies were playing but at the same time getting ready to start the migration to Alaska. We could see how big, strong, and healthy the babies were by now. All of them were so playful and cute. The tourists in my boat simply fell in love with them. A couple of Moms and babies allowed us to interact with them and it was just awesome.
In the late afternoon, an action happened that was nothing less than surreal. It was calm and we were going through a period without whales when Tico suddenly asked me to start singing. So, I sang: “Here comes the whale, turururu, here comes the whale…”, from The Beatles. And would you believe me, out of nowhere, just near our boat a mother did a gorgeous spy hopping. Everyone in the boat was amazed. It seems that this mom whale loves The Beatles too.
A Special Day – Eye to Eye with A Baby Whale
It was a really special day for me because a baby whale came to play and let me pet her. We kept eye contact and I could feel a deep bonding with the animal. This was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience and amazing how these animals connect with people!
Unfortunately in the afternoon, we did not touch any whales but it was wonderful when we saw a baby whale jumping repeatedly next to her mom!
A big thank you to everybody for their effort in making this incredible experience possible.
Winding Up a Trip That Lifetime Memories Are Made Of
It was an amazing experience today and I am so grateful to be here. Everybody is like family.
The adventure began at 7:45. We went to the observation area and there we found waiting for us a baby and mama whale. They were friendly and we had the opportunity to touch them. The afternoon excursion was calmer. Finding the whales took longer but finally, we saw them. A baby was playing around with its mom and it was jumping out of the water and having fun. It melted our hearts to see the innocent games of the baby.
Rounding up our trip, we were elated because we had such a great time with the whales, kissing, hugging, and riding them. All of us were unanimous about how happy we are with the food, desserts, and service. All connections we are making now are forever. Today we had the last dinner together, it is a little bit sad but we still have one more breakfast to go tomorrow before everyone goes their way. It is not us that have touched the whales but it is they who have touched our hearts.