Gray Whales of San Ignacio Lagoon
Guide Report: Mar.9-13, 2014
By: Liisa Juuti
The whale watching trips were very successful with stunningly beautiful weather and mothers in abundance bringing their calves to us. We named one of them “Teasy” since she wouldn’t let us touch her or her baby, but swim in zig-zag beneath the boat instead and tease us, the calf copying her mother. They would pop their heads up, splash with their flippers, and keep on swimming around us. When the time was up to get back to the camp, to our very surprise the mother and the calf started following the boat, at quite a speed! Their behavior is just astonishing.
In one beautiful afternoon we took our clients to the “boneyard”, an area where we’ve collected bones found in the area. It is surprisingly difficult to guess to which mammal each bone belonged to. Maldo explained us the origin of the bones, showing dolphin skull, turtle shell, gray whale’s shoulder bone, ribs, jaw and so on. Each year there can be found 2-4 gray whales on the shores that have died probably due to a sickness. Some babies found dead are casualties of the males chasing the females for mating. In the beginning of the past decade there were 34 whales found dead in the lagoon, thanks to the phenomenon of “El Niño”. On the way back a stingy looking coyote greeted us, with a fresh octopus in his mouth.
The local children in our camp got spoiled with the younger clientele playing football and other games with them. Although sign language seemed to work quite well, the interaction helps them to learn some basic English, too. The children study English at school, but the practicing with English-speaking foreigners prepare and guarantee the fluent communication in the future.