50 SHADES OF GREY BAJA WHALE WATCHING spray of eau de pescado. She then dives and resurfaces with her calf. What happens next is extraordinary – she proceeds to lift her baby (bearing in mind that baby is up to 17 feet long and weighs a ton) on her head and pushes it towards our small boat. Her calf takes its cue, lifts its head out of the water and drifts past the side of our panga as my shipmates scratch its barnacled head and even lean over and kiss its grey rubbery skin.
unique close encounter with some of nature’s marine giants that San Ignacio offers. It’s so very easy to anthropomorphise animals. Let’s not forget that out of the lagoon, grey whales are a favoured snack of orcas and large sharks but in San Ignacio’s sheltered and relatively safe environment, a gentle and inquisitive meeting of species occurs that affords a wildlife encounter that is like no other.
This is a behaviour that I see repeated over the next couple of days and it concerns me. This closeness of contact, especially between such a large wild creature and man does not sit comfortably with me. Yet the more I see it, the more I become convinced that it is completely on the whale’s terms and triggered chiefly by curiosity. Lengthy late-night conversations with our expert naturalist guides suggest that this behaviour is potentially repeating what the mother experienced as a calf.
San Ignacio Lagoon was a small but hugely important part of my wildlife expeditionary cruise that took me to the Southern tip of the Baja Peninsula and into the Gulf of California. The encounters with grey whales were just one highlight in a trip that included sightings of eight whale species (grey, blue, fin, sei, bryde’s, minke, humpback and dwarf sperm) six dolphin species, four species of pinnipeds and an incredible range of bird and other marine life over the course of 11 nights of snorkelling, hiking and wildlife viewing.
It took a while for me to come to terms with what a special and
BAJA WHALE WATCHING: CRUISE
Join our Steppes charter onboard The Searcher 23 January - 3 February 2018 from £4,895 pp excluding flights.
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