Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Guide Report: Feb. 17, 2014

Guide Report
Gray Whales of San Ignacio Lagoon
February 17, 2014
By: Hayley Carmody



This week the population of whales is at 215, 60 each are mothers and babies, and 95 are singles. We are beginning to see a change in the behavior of the whales. There are not as many showy displays of tails high in the air and spy hopping, which is sometimes associated with mating. Now the mothers and babies are approaching the boats and the baby’s curiosity seems to be increasing. On one very special day we had a single female whale approach the boats to play. She spent the whole 90 minutes playing with the boats. She pushed the boat around, opened her mouth and even did a few breaches. We all felt very lucky to have such an intimate experience with the whales.
At Campo Cortez everyone’s main focus is to see the whales, however when we get back to camp we try to take advantage of the beautiful ecosystem. The Vizcaino Biosphere Reserve is a very special place. The gray whales use the lagoons as their breeding grounds, migratory birds come down here for the winter and the mangroves and sea grasses provide a nursery for fish and other sea life. Lisa, one of the guides, took people out kayaking by the camp into the mangroves to see the diversity of wildlife.

Coming to see the gray whales becomes addicting. You can never get enough of these huge animals coming so close to you when you have nothing to offer. Robert and his wife have come to Campo Cortez in past years and decided to come down again. They love everything that Baja has to offer and drove from San Diego to Laguna San Ignacio to bring their grandson out for his first experience with whales. They spent the first few days observing whales, a few came up out of curiosity but they did not get to pet. On their last trip out they were appreciating everything the whales have to offer when all of a sudden a friendly whale popped its head out of the water and everyone got to pet the whale. It is always special when someone gets to pet a huge whale for the first time. It was very special to be out on the boat when the grandson Brendon first touched the whale and the smile on his face. It will be an experience that he will always remember, when his grandparents took him to Campo Cortez and he pet a whale.