domingo, julio 21, 2024

Whale Watching in Baja


The Blue whale, the largest animal that has ever lived on the planet, is one of the species found in this area. During their southward migration, they often follow a direct route along the Californian and Mexican coast. During the months of March and April, Blue whales are often sighted in the deep central basins and along the western side of the gulf of California. During their northward migration Blue whales sometimes hang out in the coastal waters of central and northern Baja California. For a short time in the months of February and March you can boat from Cabo San Lucas to Loreto for an incredible encounter with the biggest living mammal on the planet, as well as to explore the Baja peninsula a bit more in depth. whale watching The Gray whale is another species that appears in these waters. Their population in the North Atlantic waters has become extinct, however, it’s still possible to sight them in the North Pacific waters. They are known for their long annual migration, 15.000-20.000 km (roundtrip) starting every year in the fall, with females in late pregnancy appearing first. By mid-February, most of them have arrived having already given birth to their calves around or within the lagoons of the Magdalena Bay region. The gray whale’s migration back to the feeding grounds is divided in two phases: the first consists of newly pregnant females who go first to maximize feeding time, followed by adult females and males, then juveniles. The second phase consists of mothers and calves. It should be noted that Mexico has recognized how important the breeding lagoons are to the recovery of the gray whale. Mexico is the only nation to provide important habitat protection for the eastern population. The gray whale has a curious behaviour when approaching boats with whale watchers trying to pet them. Because of this temperament they are known as “friendly whales”. This results in a unique opportunity to visit an area off the beaten path, submersed in almost untouched nature, where fisherman turn into skilled whale watchers and guests are blessed with close encounters with gray whales that are to be found only along the Mexican coast. whale watchingHumpback whales steal the show during the whale watching season. Despite being one of four separate breeding grounds in the North Pacific, Baja is a popular destination for Humpbacks year-round. Humpback whales also frequent Baja during the winter months for mating and nursery. Humpbacks are known for their frequent acrobatic behaviour and their occasional tendency to approach vessels. Male humpback whales sing to attract the females in the winter. All whales in a given population sing essentially the same song. They also coordinate changes to their song over time, however, there is little information about this practice. In addition, breaching, blowing, spyhopping, fluking and/or slapping head, tail and pectoral fins in the water are behaviours usually sighted every day on whale watching tours. February is one of the best months to sight humpback whales in Cabo. Males usually remain in the area for a longer period attempting to obtain repeated mating. Their “aggressive” behaviour when competing for females are often witnessed by aerial activities. Females with their calves are also regularly sighted during this month. There are other species, such as fin whale, Bryde’s whale, sperm whale and dolphins that are also possible to sight in Baja California. Whale watching is very important; it not only provides great educational and social benefits, but it makes an important contribution to the economy of many countries promoting further whaling education and research. *

by Marilia Olio, Cabo Trek

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