Saturday, March 23, 2013

Gray Whale Census: March 22, 2013 - San Ignacio Lagoon

Gray Whale Census Report
San Ignacio Lagoon, Baja, California Sur, Mexico


Date: March 22, 2013
Place:  Campo Cortez at San Ignacio Lagoon, BCS, Mexico


Official Grey Whale Census for San Ignacio Lagoon



Gray Whale Calves:  95
Gray Whale Adults:  102

Total Gray Whales:  197


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Gray Whale Census: March 16, 2013

Gray Whale Census


Date: March 16, 2013
Location: San Ignacio Lagoon, Campo Cortez
Official Gray Whale Census for San Ignacio Lagoon



Gray Whale Calves:  97
Gray Whale Adults:  143

Total Gray Whales:  240



Thursday, March 14, 2013

Friendly Gray Whales at San Ignacio Lagoon


Guide Report

Grey Whales at San Ignacio Lagoon

Campo Cortez at San Ignacio lagoon, Baja Ca. Sur. Mexico

March 09 thru 13, 2013

By: Pamela Sanchez


It is so nice when we have little groups… you are able to connect with everyone on a personal level and give them the most incredible service. We try to be as awesome with all but small groups are always more manageable. Enthusiasm does not start to describe the energy this people brought with them; they were full of passion and love for the whales to such an extent that it did seem like it was the first time for us as well.
We had dancing lessons and music from this Mexican region as requested by Ellen and even the staff from the kitchen came out to dance. Margaritas and joy at happy hour came as a must together with the rhythm and we enjoyed every minute of it.


Our usual visit to the bone yard was fun… Mojito the beautiful dog from California came with the group, Chris and me for a delightful walk and a little bit of history about the bones and the animals. We have more than 4 marine turtles, a baby and adult grey whale, bottle nose dolphin and common dolphin, a jaw of a coyote and even bones from various birds. It is an interesting extra activity for the afternoon!
Life is incredible and we have to live it like there is no tomorrow… Thank you Ellen and Nancy for remain us all the value of feeling the moment!



Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Grey Whale Census: Mar11-2013-San Ignacio Lagoon

Grey Whale Census


Date: March 11, 2013
Location:  San Ignacio Lagoon
Official Grey Whale Census for San Ignacio Lagoon



Gray Whale Calves:  89
Gray Whale Adults:  146

Total Gray Whales:  235


Monday, March 11, 2013

Guide Report-Gray Whales-San Ignacio Lagoon


Guide Report
Gray Whales at San Ignacio Lagoon


Campo Cortez at San Ignacio lagoon, Baja Ca. Sur. Mexico


March 5th thru 9th , 2013
Highs in the lower 70s
Lows in the 40s
Winds 12-25mph
    We had an excellent time with this group!! They met friendly whales right off the bat. We would sing or do some chanting: Aqui Balleena, Balleena, Balleena! 



We took the opportunity of the morning high tide to head into the mangroves for a closer look at the wildlife that presents itself. We saw some yellow crowned and black crowned night herons, white ibis, and a few tricolored herons all fishing for breakfast! We had some nice calm weather in the mornings to watch the gray whales feed on a light snack of amphipods. We also had one session of observing the courtship and mating behaviors! What a great trip and a experience that will last a life time.









All the best,
Christopher Match
Whale Watching & Sea Kayaking Guide
Baja Ecotours




Grey Whale Guide Report: March 5-9


Guide Report

Grey Whales at San Ignacio LagoonCampo Cortez at San Ignacio lagoon, Baja Ca. Sur. MexicoMarch 5th thru 9th , 2013

By: Pamela Sanchez


Some people have luck with the whale trips and the sightings, but this is the group with more encounters from all the ones we had so far! Just one time (the last trip) they didn´t touch a whale! The other five opportunities, they touched mothers and babies and even single females on heat that were displaying courtship behaviour by rolling on their backs, showing their tails and pectoral fins and becoming very friendly! We had two at one occasion at one point were we had two females approaching to the boat and playing with each other and us for more than 45 minutes! I must say that was incredible!

We had a “crazy” whale (the name remained after various attacks!) following different boats and slapping tails next to us! We think is a male not in the best mood for whatever reason… or perhaps he confused us with a female whale and was flirting with us!!!! You can imagine the stories we came up with while and after the events with the whale!
We managed to see coyotes around the camp! After a few attempts to find them in the evening and night, we saw them! As well, our beautiful couple of ospreys that live in the artificial platform where their nest lays, still on the baby business! The second time she tried to incubate seems to be the good one! She is being so dedicated for the last 12 days now, leaving the place just for a few minutes to feel her muscles again (I guess…). He has been bringing food and collaborating with its part like a good father will do.
Our list of species observed keeps on growing, and we hope that for the end of the season will be full! We have right now 46 species between birds, mammals and reptiles. We encourage everyone to increase it!!! Come and see!  


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Guide Report-Gray Whales-San Ignacio Lagoon


Guide Report
San Ignacio lagoon, Baja Ca. Sur. Mexico
Campo Cortez at Laguna San Ignacio


Report: March 01 thru 05, 2013

By: Pamela Sanchez

Awesome sunshine and heat! This group had the most amazing luck with the weather… from the winter; it seems that we had moved to summer without a doubt! We have enjoyed the beautiful grey whales on t-shirts and believe me that is the first for me! The lagoon gave us a break from the bad wind and surprised us with a calm and still water that was epic! And as you can imagine, with good weather, we have found more active babies, playing nicely in the surface, jumping and trying to breach, while mama stays close to help him with anything. It is beautiful to see how this behaviour encourages the mothers to become playful and roll, jump and play with both, their babies and us! How lucky are we?


I am sure some of you will be happy to know that on the 2nd of this month, some captain saw CUCARACHAAAAAAA! Apparently he was with his mother at the end of the lagoon, close to the moth where it meets with the sea. Maybe that is the reason why we have not been able to see him for all these days! It is nice to know we can keep hoping to meet him once more before he goes away! Miss you so much little character!






The lagoon is nearly free of erotic behaviour… The adults that came to mate here, are already going away and we have reach the point where the change from activity is already taking place. Now it is time for the mothers and babies to colonise all the space! And from now on, that is exactly what it is going to happened! The possibility of encountering a “friendly whale” increases just because they are the only ones left here! I should tell you that sometimes, males arras females with babies even when they are not sexually receptive and that in our whale watcher point of view is not good news! It makes the mothers and their babies to run away and stress them unnecessarily. From now on it will be just you little ones, your mothers and US! Let’s enjoy!






Guide Report-Gray Whales-San Ignacio Lagoon


Guide Report
Gray Whales at San Ignacio Lagoon


Campo Cortez at San Ignacio lagoon, Baja Ca. Sur. Mexico

March 1st-5th, 2013Highs in the lower 70'sLows in the 40sWinds 8-32mph

      
We had lots of friendlies coming and going throughout the trip!! Numerous times the friendly calf came up in a spy hopping position just to get a kiss :) We had the pleasure of viewing many cows and calves swimming close by and diving right under the boat. Then the whales would come right up within arms reach for us to give them a vigorous scratching. We would scratch along the lips and the calf would open it's mouth with a big smile to show us the baleen!! 


We were able to get some of the videos right into the calves mouth, while we observed the baleen with the tongue exposed. What a crazy experience! Not many guest have the opportunity to see into the gray whale's mouth, especially with a great, happy smile. We are always looking forward to see what the next whale watching session will bring! It seems as though the mating has been decreasing and the play times are starting to increase as March progresses. 

Christopher Match
Whale Watching & Sea Kayaking Guide
Baja Ecotours




Monday, March 4, 2013

Census March 03, 2013-San Ignacio Lagoon

Grey Whale Census
Laguna San Ignacio


March 03, 2013
Official Census from the Vizcaino Reserve Biosphere for San Ignacio Lagoon



*Remarks: As we expected when we saw the original data of whales traveling down the coast AND our early whale counts, we knew this was going to be a RECORD year for Gray Whales making it into the birthing lagoons. Whales are extremely healthy looking this season and there have been a large number of healthy calves.


Adult Gray Whales:  258
Gray Whale Calves:   90

Total Gray Whales:  348



Saturday, March 2, 2013

Gray Whale Adventure-Video

Gray Whale Video


By Geoffrey Furber
Visited our camp on the 5 day air trip

Video Located at Vimeo:  http://vimeo.com/60970884






The Grey Whale Adventure from Geoffrey Furber on Vimeo.

Guide Report Feb. 25-Mar01, 2013


Guide Report

San Ignacio lagoon, Baja Ca. Sur. Mexico

Guide Report from Campo Cortez at San Ignacio Lagoon
Gray Whales: 2013 Season



Feb. 25-March 1st
Highs in the upper 60s
Lows in the upper 30s
Winds 12-39mph


We had a great first morning of whale watching. We were able to observe the whales feeding throughout the morning with bottle nose dolphin passing by the boat on numerous occasions. The afternoon whale watching was with a few curious cows and calfs circling around the boat while the rest of the laguna seemed to be splashing about in courtship with one another. We had the honor of Maldo as our boat driver!



We observed lots of spy hopping whales and had the privilege to play with a few passing by solo adults. Where one adult female would swim on her side, pretty much during the whole encounter. Where she would play hide and seek with us for about a half hour on and off between letting us pet her. Next, we found an extremely playful calf who is about 2 months old with the mother swimming playful by. 




I was able to scratch along the lips and the calf opened his mouth to expose the balleen. :) What a great group and such an amazing whale watching experience!


All the best,
Christopher Match
Whale Watching & Sea Kayaking Guide
Baja Ecotours





Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Guide Report: Feb. 21-25


Guide Report
San Ignacio lagoon, Baja Ca. Sur. Mexico
Campo Cortez at Laguna San Ignacio


Week of Feb. 21-25
By Christopher Match


Highs in the upper 60s
Lows in the mid 40s
5-40mph winds
     We had a great trip exploring the Mangroves on one of the whale watching trips to take shelter from the winds, as we searched for the Tricolored Heron. We can only enter the Mangrove maze on the high tides. We did manage to have some mellow winds for a bulk of the whale watching experience where we had a chance to play with "Princessa" and even an occasional cow and calf. 

Again, as I have stated before, on the windier whale watching segments there seems to be more spy hopping and breaches. Almost as if the whales utilize the fast currents with the winds to help gain speed for the breaching and perhaps spy hopping to get a closer look at it's surroundings. 




Overall, this too, was another amazing whale watching experience. When the winds kick down, you can really feel the warmth of the desert heat while you soak up some Vitamin D while sipping on a margarita or a cool beer. 
We are looking forward to the adventure that awaits for the next group to arrive today.
All the best,
Christopher Match
Whale Watching & Sea Kayaking Guide
Baja Ecotours




Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Five Day Air Trip To Laguna San Ignacio

By: Noly Lira


From December to March the Pacific Gray whales (Ballena Gris) make their 7,000-14,000 mile annual migration from the frigid Bering sea to the wonderful, warm waters of the Baja Peninsula. 
They travel this great distance in order to give birth and to care for their young here in the peninsula's protected lagoons.



Many fortunate people travel by train, plane or automobile just to witness the unique experience first-hand.  On this trip, most of our group chose to arrive by plane, while a few were self-arrivals who shared their stories from their own journeys.

  Our own adventure began in San Diego and continued  on as we boarded our plane and set out for Campo Cortez  a family operated camp right in the middle of the quiet beauty of the El Vizcaino Bioshere Reserve. 

Campo Cortez is nestled at a point in the lagoons with wonderful views of the gentle, rolling coastline and some beautiful geological scenery.





The camp has comfortable cabins to keep you warm and cozy when the bright Baja sun goes down at the end of another beautiful day.

The initial send off was filled  with excitement, not only to see the whales, but the anticipation of the overall experience of the trip and all it had to offer.

  Although it may have been a return visit for me, I was still astounded to experience the rugged beauty of the arid desert meeting the shore of these wonderful waters.  This vast reserve happens to be Mexico's largest protected area.  Perhaps that's why the Ballenas appear so happy here.


 We did not have to venture far.  The camp is right on the water and it doesn't take long to get out to all the action: moms with calves, and single (and amorous) males.  The days began with the most amazing sunrises and just as magnificent sunsets.



The camp is surrounded by a considerable variety of vegetation, including Cardon - a very robust succulent-cactus. To various Cholla, Elephant Tree and Galloping cactus.




 The area also has a wealth of bird  life, the camp area is ideal for photographers and/or birdwatchers. 








 After observing some of the different kinds of birds such as the American Oyster Catcher, Brown Pelican, Double Crested-Cormorant and the majestic Osprey near shore, we headed out to the lagoons in search of the Gray Whales


 












 While the camp guests may not know each other when they  arrive, when they leave, they can't help but make some incredible friendships that I personally hope will last a life time.

 

 We have all experienced such joy and kindness, from the Campo Family to the Great Gentle Giants out in the lagoons.  I Can't wait to visit again. 


                Of all the experiences one would ever want to have in life, this is an absolute must.

                                 
                                                      Hope to see you there sometime soon!
                                                                        Cheers, Noly









Gray Whale Census
San Ignacio Lagoon
February 25, 2013



Official Gray Whale Census for San Ignacio Lagoon
Taken on February 25, 2013 by the Vizcaino Biosphere



Adult Gray Whales:   258
Gray Whale Calves:    90

Total Gray Whales:   348

**this is an incredible year and count with more whales coming into the lagoon as well as more calves being born still at the lagoon.


Guide Report
Gray Whales at San Ignacio Lagoon

week of Feb. 21-25
by Christopher Match

Highs in the upper 60s
Lows in the mid 40s
5-40mph winds



     We had a great trip exploring the Mangroves on one of the whale watching trips to take shelter from the winds, as we searched for the Tricolored Heron. We can only enter the Mangrove maze on the high tides. We did manage to have some mellow winds for a bulk of the whale watching experience where we had a chance to play with "Princessa" and even an occasional cow and calf. 






Again, as I have stated before, on the windier whale watching segments there seems to be more spy hopping and breaches. Almost as if the whales utilize the fast currents with the winds to help gain speed for the breaching and perhaps spy hopping to get a closer look at it's surroundings. Overall, this too, was another amazing whale watching experience. When the winds kick down, you can really feel the warmth of the desert heat while you soak up some Vitamin D while sipping on a margarita or a cool beer. 



We are looking forward to the adventure that awaits for the next group to arrive today.
All the best,
Christopher Match
Whale Watching & Sea Kayaking Guide
Baja Ecotours

Friday, February 22, 2013

Guide Report Feb. 17-21


Guide Report
San Ignacio lagoon-Gray Whales

Week of Feb. 17-21
By Christopher Match


Feb. 17-21, 2013
HIghs in the upper 60s
Lows in the upper 40s

      This group had all sorts of crazy weather but no one seems to mind after a whale watching experience turns into a friendly whale playing experience. We had on numerous occasions the pleasure of playing with a mom (cow) and a baby (calf) gray whales. The calf often gets tired while swimming in the stronger currents and will prop itself up on the cow for a chance to rest while interacting with us. When the water is choppy or rough, we usually see a lot of whales spy hopping and breaching off in the distance. In the photos, you will see us playing with a friendly whale that was named "Princessa." 

Also notice in the picture of Princessa spy hopping close to our boat while see exhales through her blowhole. She loved to roll over and over while we had the privilege to scratch her on her belly. We examined the barnacles on her head and took caution when petting her not to cut our fingers. When this does occur, again, no one seems to mind at all. It's just such an amazing experience that takes place and everyone is filled with joy. We had an afternoon of slight rain, where it casted a rainbow off in the distance while we were in the observation area. I was able to catch a spy hop and the rainbow in the same frame!!

 
All the best,
Christopher Match
Whale Watching & Sea Kayaking Guide
Baja Ecotours




Thursday, February 21, 2013

Gray Whale Guide Report
San Ignacio Lagoon


5 day air trip Feb. 17-21
by Pamela Sanchez



Yes, I have to admit… some people really get into you and this big group with their energy, sense of humour and amazing enthusiasm, has been an unforgettable adventure to let go! What a nice mixture of ages and good vibe! We had live music (guitar and voices) and dancing going on in the nights, completely unexpected. I am telling you that the term here of “happy hour” has to be changed to happy evening!






One of the most amazing things of this job (apart from watching the whales everyday) is the people you meet. Being able to share the incredible feeling of touching a whale it almost feels like a miracle! And yes, we did touch whales, so many in fact! With the pass of the weeks, we have more and more babies (although we still have mating going on in the area too) in the lagoon, so we have more opportunities to find mothers with their calves to interact with them. Sometimes, we have an adult on its own that gets close to us but it is an unusual situation. The news this week is that we have a new baby in town! His name is “Cucaracha” and once you meet him, you cannot prevent yourself from falling in love with him. He is playful, full of life and likes to interact with people, play with the boat and get on top of mum. He is so beautiful too, with very characteristic white/grey markings on the lateral sides of his little body. I am sure that I will be able to get a picture of him soon… I will share it with you!


Temperatures went down a little bit but we had a couple of walks to our “bone museum” on the beach. It is really beautiful and relaxing to go around the mangroves on low tide and learn about the prints and other signs animals leave for us to discover their steps! The advantage of doing so late in the afternoon is to come back to the camp with the sunset on the other side… The osprey nest on the background and the pink colouration on the sky. Good for the brave ones that came to this extra activities… Cold but so worth it!
Beautiful people, you will be missed! 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Guide Report Feb.13-17, 2013



Guide Report: Grupo  del 13 al 17 de Febrero 2013

Reporte de Guia:  13-17 de Febrero, 2013


By Rubi Gabriela Moreno Cordero


Este grupo fue variado con visitantes de diferentes países, edades y profesiones, familia con sus hijos que gozaron inmensamente cada viaje a ver ballenas, hemos encontrado a un hermoso ballenato que indiscutiblemente se ganó la preferencia de todos, lo llamamos “ White face ” o “ la cucaracha ” por su color gris blancozo que predominaba en casi todo su cuerpo, tanto la madre de White face y ella gozaban brincando rolando uno encima de otro cariñosos a mas no poder, besándolos, compartiéndose entre cada pasajero de nuestras embarcaciones, en particular la familia de 3 niños y sus papas procedentes de Grecia, buscaron siempre la interacción con ese ballenato que como cosa mágica parecía que tenían cita con la madre y su cría encantadora, la familia al igual que todos los visitantes de este grupo tan dinámico y divertido salieron extasiados diciendo que había sido por mucho el viaje de su vida que mantendrán por siempre en sus corazones agradecieron las atenciones de todo el personal de Campo Cortez, la tradicional happy hour, las deliciosas comidas y postres que nuestros staff de cocina que preparan con tanta dedicación, dejándonos a todos un gran sabor de boca.

Guide Report: Feb.13-17


Guide ReportSan Ignacio Lagoon, Baja Ca.  Sur, Mexico


Feb. 13th-17th, 2013
Highs in the upper 60s
Lows in the lower 40s

  This group had a great experience with playing and kissing the friendly whales!! On numerous occasions we were surrounded by two pairs of moms and babies with an adult male close by. We meet a playful baby whale that was named "La Cucaratcha" by the pangaros. They were singing the song as the baby approached the ponga for the first initial contact. We saw lots of spy-hopping and breaches far and nearby!! WOW, what a great trip for whale watching! Cuco, the boat driver points as a mother Gray Whale spy-hops next to the boat.



   We also had the pleasure of seeing a whale that I had named last season, "Barni," short for barnacle who returned to the Laguna about a year after we had first met. Barni, only has barnacles on is left side of his face, due to feeding along the ocean floor. That is where most barnacles will attach themselves to join in a symbiotic relationship with the Gray Whales. Often you will see the whales breaching, perhaps to help knock off the barnacles from their backs and heads.



   The whale watching just keeps getting better and better as the season progresses. I can't wait to see what's next!! We have about 332 Gray Whales in the Laguna thus far and we can only hope that the population may grow to the upper 400's to lower 500's!....fingers are crossed.
All the best,
Christopher Match
Whale Watching & Sea Kayaking Guide
Baja Ecotours