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.
Hope to see you there sometime soon!