Saturday, February 1, 2014

Guide Report: Jan.30, 2014 - San Ignacio Lagoon

Gray Whales at San Ignacio Lagoon

Guide Report
Week of January 27 thru Feburary 1, 2014
By:  Hayley Carmody

At Capo Cortez the beginning of the season opened with a diverse group of people led by the fearless guide Norma. This adventure began in the afternoon. On the boat ride out to the observation area our boat driver, Roberto Fisher, is always aware of the whales around. Roberto grew up surrounded by whales, and has been a boat driver in Laguna San Ignacio for 11 years. His father, Maldo taught him how to recognize the friendly whales. At the time there were about 180 whales in the Laguna. They swim up to greet the people who have never before been so close to these whales. 

The first whale to approach was a curious female. She swam up to the boat looking at the eager people. As the whale got closer everyone could really appreciate the size of this enormous creature. The boats ride along with the whales and the current. The small pangas provide the opportunity to be close with the whales. People are able to observe the whales taking in this majestic creature, while understanding the physical diversity of the whales. We began to get to know the whales based on coloration and fluke types. The gray whales frequently approach boats in the breeding grounds of Baja California. One whale swam up to the boat to see the people. She rubbed up and let people splash her and then taking part in the fun, she splashed everyone back winning the game. She was named “splashy” and continued to visit the boats.

The whales are very expressive in the Laguna San Ignacio. They spy hop, breach, tail sail, bubble blast and do other actions. At times we observed the mothers assisting the babies in these different whale behaviors. We saw a mother spy hopping and the baby pushed itself out of the water and rolled around on the mother in attempts to mimic her. As we looked out on the horizon there were whales in every direction. They appear to be putting on a show for each other and we are the privileged bystanders viewing. Leaving the lagoon we waved bye to all the whales while they