Ballenas!

On Sunday, March 21, we took the bus to Guerrero Negro, to take a whale watching tour in the Ojo de Liebre lagoon. This lagoon hosts more gray whales than any other, so we were willing to brave the 3 hour+ bus ride.

It was pretty stressful getting there. We went to the station at 6:15am to catch the 6:25 bus, only to find that the 6:25 bus actually left at 5:25. Luckily there was a 7:15 bus that, given our guess that the trip would take 3 hours, we hoped would get us to Guerrero Negro in plenty of time for our 11am tour. And we were doing great time… but when we got to Vizcaino, the bus driver announced we were stopping for 40 minutes to get breakfast. Then that 40 minutes turned into over an hour…

Luckily we made it, and within minutes we’d paid for the tour and were on the mini-bus out to the lagoon. On the way, the guide told us more about Guerrero Negro, and we learned that 25% of the world’s salt is produced there. Some of it becomes table salt, most is shipped to Japan where it’s used in everything from cosmetics to fabric softener, and some is used to de-ice the roads in the US. We saw a barge being loaded with salt from a pile hundreds of feet high- amazing!

I’ve always thought of gray whales as being ‘California’ grays, but our guide made the case that these whales are actually Mexican. His arguments: (a) they’re born in Mexico; (b) you often see one female being pursued by two males; and (c) the males are, ahem, extremely well endowed. “They’re Mexican!” he concludes.

Honestly, the first part of the tour was a bit disappointing. Sure, we saw whales breaching and spyhopping, and yeah, there were times when there were whales in every direction. It was way better than any US whale watching trips we’d been on. But it just wasn’t as exciting as last year’s up-close experience at San Ignacio.

But then we came upon a mother and calf who were willing to interact. The calf loved to roll on her back, showing us the stripes under her chin, and her belly button! The mom enjoyed scratching herself on the bottom of the panga. We bounced from one side of the boat to the other, scratching and patting them when they came within range. Todd even got to feel the calf’s tail!

Then another mom and calf joined us for a while too, and it was almost overwhelming- a tail here, a fin there, a head popping up and spraying you with whale breath! The second calf, though smaller, was a little firecracker; he loved to tear around and whip his tail.

Between the two pairs, we must have spent over an hour touching whales. Definitely worth the long bus ride! We were back in Santa Rosalia by 8pm. Not wanting to pay for any more days in the marina, we headed south the next morning, despite the lack of wind.

On Tuesday, we had a great sail into Bahia Concepcion. With 15 kts of wind from behind us, the lovely clear green water, the red, brown and gold mountains on either side, and the blue sky freckled with clouds above, it had to be some of the most beautiful sailing in the world!

We’ll be hanging out here in Bahia Concepcion for a few more days, before we head south for La Paz. I’m going to make brownies for Capn Thirty-Something’s birthday on Sunday. I even have a gift for him, which I can’t wait to surprise him with… because I’m pretty sure he’s got nada for my birthday on Monday! It’s gonna be great to watch him squirm!

Here are all our whale photos; we also got a couple good video clips, but they were too big to upload in the time I had. Maybe once we’re in La Paz I’ll do that. Probably no more blog posts til then (two weeks or so).

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One Response to “Ballenas!”

  1. Hannah McGhee says:

    A very happy birthday to both of you!!!
    We missed seeing you when we were in CA last week. It’s been too long!
    Lots of love,
    Hannah

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