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




Sunday, February 17, 2013

Guide Report
San Ignacio Lagoon
Feb. 17, 2013


5 day air trip Feb. 13-17 group
By Pamela Sanchez





It is hard to say goodbye to people whom you had shared so much intensity, and of course, this one has been a difficult one to let go! We had amazing luck with the whales! We encounter a few mothers and babies friendly enough to play with us for a long time and let us touch them over and over again! They rolled on their backs and scratch their tummies with the boat! We got splashed so many times that as soon as we came back to camp, all of us had to change our clothes to dry ones! All worth it for sure! Especially when 3 mothers and their respective babies surrounded our boats and delight us with their breaching and playful behaviour… No words to describe the joy of the face of everyone!


As an amazing discovery this trip, I have to focus on the adult grey whale that breached 9 consecutive times not far from our boat… In every trip, the list of amazing behaviour fact of these species get fatter and fatter and I am pretty sure it will keep surprising us all for the next weeks until the season is over.
This time we have included on our sighting species list, the loggerhead turtle! We saw as well a Californian Sea Lion travelling fast on the lagoon! We had the visit in the night of a little group of coyotes and of course, the amazing bird family that enriches the morning music with their characteristic singings… My favourite? The American oystercatcher! 
Enjoy the most amazing sunset with our beautiful neighbours, the ospreys!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Gray Whale Report


Reporte segunda semana de febreroReport from second week of February

Dates: Feb. 10-15, 2013-03

By Pamela Sanchez


They arrived together form different places and rapidly they fit in! Barbara and Don have an amazing smile and sense of humour that we appreciate so much! They brought with them Boomer, a 14 year old dog that enriched the homogeneous landscape of the high marshes vegetation. Jenny and Joel from the UK, the youngest couple so far, hooked with the guides at a point where we watched the stars all together!



Don managed to get amazing pictures of birds and whales and probably he shot the moment we were lucky enough to spot three coyotes on the beach, collecting the left overs the tide imprisoned on the little paddles of salt water (see picture!) . Having all the info he needed about the birds species in the area, Don immortalised in his camera Oystercatchers, White ibis, Sand pipers and Branta Goose among others! As well, he got a lot of pictures with Joel´s head and Pamela´s hat, but that is another story!!!



Grey Whale Census
San Ignacio Lagoon
February 15, 2013



Official Grey Whale Census for San Ignacio Lagoon
Taken on February 15, 2013 by the Vizcaino Biosphere



Adult Gray Whales:   220
Gray Whale Calves:   112

Total Gray Whales:   332




Thursday, February 14, 2013

Guide Report: Feb.9-13, 2013



Guide Report: Feb. 09-13, 2013Reporte de Guia:  09-13 de Febrero, 2013


Por Rubi Gabriela Moreno Cordero Grupo 9 al 13 de Febrero 2013:


Tuvimos el gran privilegio con nuestro grupo de visitantes, de contar con expertos en el tema de las ballenas, fue toda una aventura educativa y divertida de principio a fin, los días estuvieron estupendos sin vientos con mareas vivas, dando la posibilidad salir a kayakear alrededor de los manglares con Christopher uno de nuestros guías expertos en manglares y aves.

Las interacciones con ballenatos hembras y machos fue espectacular, apareamientos, colas, saltos,  espiándonos y unos delfines juguetones que estuvieron posándonos frente a la embarcación, haciendo completo nuestro viaje.
Algo interesante sucedido a la visita de este grupo fue el poder intercambiar conocer el trabajo de los científicos y estudiantes dirigidos por Steven  Swuart, compartiendo amablemente como es su costumbre sus conocimientos de los estudios realizados por décadas, al final de su estancia en nuestro campamento despedimos entre abrazos, rizas  y las tradicionales fotos de despedida.

Reporte de Guia

Laguna San Ignacio y Campo Cortez
Por Rubi Gabriela Moreno Cordero
5 hasta 09 de Febrero, 2013 

Bus-Fly trip

En Espanol



 El entusiasmo y disposición de pasarla de maravilla de este grupo fue única, las hermosas ballenitas lagunares se mostraban mas que amistosas, nos paseaban alrededor de la embarcación, nos dejaron acariciarlas y besarlas, además de la muestra de virilidad de los machos que en medio de apareo mostraban el famoso Pink Floyd, dando un espectáculo completo a quien los miraba, eso provocó risas y la picardía clásica llena de bromas, las cámaras no pararon de flachear, como es usual, el momento mas emotivo para todos fue el poder acariciar la textura de la piel del ballenato y su madre, que los conmovio hasta el llanto, gritos de euforia incontenida,

después la todo la happy hour, con margaritas cervezas celebrando el día maravillo que nuestras ballenitas grises solo saben provocar, celebramos juntos el cumpleaños de Maldo nuestro Jefe y su bella familia que nos agasajaron con las deliciosas comidas regionales, tales como los mariscos frescos, las tortilla de harina recién hechas..mmmm.. así es la aventura en la laguna San Ignacio en Campo Cortez Baja Aventuras.

 Ruby



Gray Whale Report


Guide ReportCampo Cortez at San Ignaco Lagoon


Feb 9th-13th, 2013
HIghs in the mid-60's
Lows in the mid-30's
Winds averaging 15-20mph
    
It's great to be back in the Laguna San Ignacio!! This group had a lot of fun watching the whales court one another, as mating was in full display. We observed numerous courtships, as two males would pursue one female in hope of releasing it's offspring to start the gestation period for the female Gray Whale. Notice in the picture, the two male's genitalia, the "pink floyd" wrapping around the female. Followed by quite vigorous splashing about.

    The tides were perfect for kayaking around the mangroves nearby, while searching for the migratory birds that nest above the all you can eat seafood buffet. As the smaller fish take shelter amongst the aerial roots of the Red Mangroves they also hide from the predators that are lurking below. Paco, son of Maldo, escorted the group with myself, in search of a nearby octopus to observe. As we scattered about, stepping over the bountiful Pen Shells or better known as Scallops. :) 

We also found numerous Chocolate Clams to crack open to help lure the octopus out of it's dark, neatly placed shells around the hole, in which it hides during the low tide.
It was an amazing trip to experience, and everyone seemed to really enjoy the fun in the sun while splashing about. I hope you can make it down soon!!

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




Monday, February 11, 2013

Guide Report Feb. 5-9


Guide Report
San Ignacio Lagoon, Baja Ca. Sur, Mexico


Gray Whale Guide Report from Campo Cortez

 
February 5-9 Guide Report

By:  Jim Dorsey

The February 5-9 trip was a great start for the 2013 season.  We made contact with a mother calf pair the first half hour on the water  and they stayed with us all morning.  First time guests said they were forever spoiled after that.




 

Most of the time the new mothers were a bit skittish but allowed their calves to approach us with caution each day.  There was a lot of spyhopping and rubbing on our keel.














The surprise highlight of the trip was the Osprey family that moved onto the new nesting platform behind the banos .  Each afternoon at sundown everybody would sneak out, using the bano for cover to get those close up National Geographic shots of this fantastic raptor.

Flying out of the lagoon is always a treat over the ancient landscape that looks as though time stopped a thousand years ago.

Looks like this is going to be a great year in the lagoon.







Sunday, February 10, 2013

Guide Report
Laguna San Ignacio
At Campo Cortez


February 5-9 Bus-Fly Guided trip with James Dorsey
By Pamela Sanchez


1
Being the first group, they got our best and fresh welcome to the Camp! They stayed for  3 nights with us and made the best of it! We had an amazing experience with the grey whales, being able to scratch and kiss (yes, I know it sounds incredible but it did happened… even the guides did) a beautiful female whale that decided to amaze us with her company for more than half an hour asking for love like a pup would do! We were absolutely thrilled!



One of the nights, we celebrated Maldo´s birthday, the creator of this amazing CORTEZ CAMP! He didn’t want to tell us how old but we guessed that as long you are surrounded by such a landscape and magical creatures, time becomes just a word in your mouth without more meaning than that!










Everyone had a happy face all day long, for the time they were here! Wouldn´t you? Best service, best food, best company, the friendliest whales in the world and so much stuff learned. I hope we will see each other soon… Otherwise, the experience we had lived together it will be part of our most precious memories!

Than you all for sharing!!!!!




Guide Report: Feb. 5-9


February 5-9 Guide Report

Jim Dorsey

The February 5-9 trip was a great start for the 2013 season.  We made contact with a mother calf pair the first half hour on the water  and they stayed with us all morning.  First time guests said they were forever spoiled after that.










Most of the time the new mothers were a bit skittish but allowed their calves to approach us with caution each day.  There was a lot of spyhopping and rubbing on our keel.














The surprise highlight of the trip was the Osprey family that moved onto the new nesting platform behind the banos .  Each afternoon at sundown everybody would sneak out, using the bano for cover to get those close up National Geographic shots of this fantastic raptor.











Flying out of the lagoon is always a treat over the ancient landscape that looks as though time stopped a thousand years ago.

Looks like this is going to be a great year in the lagoon.







Grey Whale Census
San Ignacio Lagoon
February 03, 2013



Official Grey Whale Census for San Ignacio Lagoon, Baja, Mexico


Gray Whale Calves:   76
Gray Whale Adults:  108
Total Gray Whales:   184