Thursday, February 28, 2019

Birthday Week

Birthday Week

by Ricardo Ponce


I’m glad to share with you my first camp report, this is my first season at Campo Cortez, and from the first step you make on this wonderful lagoon, you feel the special vibe of this place, it’s something magical.

People talk a lot about the experience of having a close encounter with one of these big mammals, each experience is completely different, but sometimes the sensation is indescribable, the tranquility shared from these majestic creatures is translated to the many varieties of “methods” that come from our heart to try to make a link or a certain communication with them.

 Its birthday week for some of our friends in the camp, mine also included, and the rain of gifts didn’t wait for too long, here you exchange the material gifts for unforgettable experiences. Carolyn is visiting us for third year (that should say something good about the magic of the lagoon) now with all her family members, and like if something planned, in one of the trips she had the opportunity of being visited and kissed by one of the beautiful whales!!! What a Gift! They are a lovely family and the whales love them too.

The vibe around the camp is just amazing, it really feels like a birthday party.

Another example happened to me, I had the chance to witness on my birthday a truly incredible moment when a group of the kids in the camp started to sing and like if they were using a magic spell or they were reading the Pied Piper of Hamelin, a beautiful calf started to get closer and closer, I was just amazed at how they made that connection.

Yes! The birthdays here are very special!
Also, if that wasn’t enough, we all had our own birthday cakes, made and decorated by Elsa, one of our lovely cooks, and of course the decoration was with a lot of beautiful whales!
Here is my first report of the season (hope of many haha) see you next time.
 Kind Regards Ricardo

 Stay Tuned!

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Poo, Quesadilla and a Dead Fish

Poo, quesadillas and a dead fish.

By Rodrigo Manterola
24 February 2019
Half way into the season our whale friends are finally growing in numbers at the lagoon, this year’s season has been different for sure, weather conditions mainly related to climate change have prevented ice formation at the gray’s feeding grounds thus keeping them longer in the artic seas, also, interestingly enough, our gray friends have been spotted in southern latitudes than usual, reports from sightings as far south as Puerto Vallarta are not uncommon this year.

Whales are not the only migratory species affected by these weather conditions, Brant’s geese and white pelicans were also late to their winter hangouts along with other species. A strong remainder that denial does not make the problem go away.

It is interesting to observe how this year also brought an unusual amount of water to the Vizcaino desert making it bloom with color for a few weeks, the semper dry Adam’s tree bushes were beautifully adorned with their characteristic red flowers and their not so always visible small green leaves. Flowers of all colors along with every shade of green embellished the road to Campo Cortez at least for a few days.

In the other hand our also migratory friend Carrie Newell was right on time this year, just like every year she came along leading a group of very enthusiastic whale watchers to the lagoon, armed with cameras and rain jackets these fellow nature lovers followed Carrie in her every year adventure into the Baja breeding lagoons.

For Carrie, coming to San Ignacio is a ritual. In her blood, just like the whales, runs San Ignacio lagoon’s water and you can find it embedded in her DNA, no question about it.
For us at the camp it’s always a pleasure to see an old friend, the wealth of knowledge she embodies, is both inspirational and educational for every guide at the camp, she devoted her life to the observation and protection not only of the gray whales but also of their environment. The interconnections between all the species in the ecosystem was clear for Carrie since she was young, a lifetime of research and science put within the public’s reach.
But what does the poo, the quesadillas and the dead fish have to do with all of these?
Well, having Carrie around is like having an excited genius kid around, she will jump and scream of emotion if a baby whale poo lands in her hands, and it did. She picked it up and bagged it for a later microscope session where all the guests at the camp could find the secrets behind the babies fat rich milk diet after digestion.
The dead fish happened to be a half beak fish, an elongated fish like the needle fish, and whom maybe out of bad luck escaped from the bite of a bigger fish in a jump just to land in the dryness of a panga and to finally be found next morning as stiff as a stick.
Well, that all sounds good, but what about the quesadillas you may ask?
A set of two quesadillas was smuggled out of the kitchen by yours truly to be enjoyed in a later snack that by design, included a nice hot cup of coffee. Unfortunately for the writer of this post I forgot about the whole idea and a day went by, next morning, I found these three items lying together on the same shelf, of course my appetite was deterred by the poo in a bag and the fish-stick, so I decided to have the nice hot cup of coffee and just write about the whole thing.
Signing out,

Monday, February 25, 2019

Census Report: 2018 Season

Census Report 

Laguna San Ignacio
2018 Season

January 18
  Mother / Calf Pairs: 11
  (total: 22) 
  Single Whales: 8
            Total Whales: 30

 January 31 
  Mother / Calf Pairs: 26
  (total: 52)
  Single Whales: 41
            Total Whales: 93

 February 5 
  Mother / Calf Pairs: 19

  (total: 38)
  Single Whales: 111

            Total Whales: 149

February 10
  Mother / Calf Pairs: 18

  (total: 36)
  Single Whales: 103
            Total Whales: 139

February 15
  Mother / Calf Pairs: 20
  (total: 40)
  Single Whales: 161
            Total Whales: 201

February 21
  Mother / Calf Pairs: 21
  (total: 42)
  Single Whales: 157
            Total Whales: 199

February 27
  Mother / Calf Pairs: 26
  (total: 52)
  Single Whales: 144
            Total Whales: 198

March 8
  Mother / Calf Pairs: 17
  (total: 34)
  Single Whales: 73
            Total Whales: 107

March 15
  Mother / Calf Pairs: 17
  (total: 34)
  Single Whales: 46
            Total Whales: 80

March 22
  Mother / Calf Pairs: 49
  (total: 98)
  Single Whales: 18
            Total Whales: 116