The best whale watching I’ve experienced so far happened in Adolfo Lopez Mateos in Baja California Sur last week. Town of Adolfo Lopez Mateos in the coast of Bahia Magdalena, which is located in the Municipality of Comondu, 40 minutes north of Ciudad Constitucion towards the Pacific, this zone has the quickest access from other destinations such as La Paz, Los Cabos and Loreto. The long channel creates the perfect environment for the whales and for the Observers like us.
Gray whales are mammals that accomplish one of the largest migrations in the Animal Kingdom. They travel more than 10,000 miles from their breeding zones in Mexico to their feeding zones in the cold Arctic waters and back to their breeding areas. Calves are born in the well protected waters inside the lagoon where cows take care of them and feed them until the end of March.
Toward the end of December, the gray whales start arriving to the lagoons after traveling 6 – 8 weeks at an average speed of 5 km. Pregnant females arrive first. Currently the population of gray whales has recovered to an estimation of 22,000 individuals. They are protected by Mexican law.
These lagoons are habitat for California sea lions, dolphins, herons, egrets, shorebirds as well as ospreys and Magnificent Frigatebirds. Black turtles enter the lagoons to feed on seagrass as well. The sand dunes make a very unique natural environment for the animals around the area. It’s a home for not only whales, but also a lot of seabirds and animals. This unique habitat combines the beauty of its mangroves and sand dunes with its wonderful wildlife to provide amazing landscapes to the people.
As you can see from the map, the water channel at Adolfo Lopez Mateos provides the perfect environment for the females and the young borns. This time of the year in this area, you’ll always see a pair of whales: female and calves or a couple. Female whales gave a birth in the safe place and swim back to the feeding zone pregnant. Because the water is shallow and calm, a huge population of the whales hangs out in the channel. Mothers teach calves how to swim and breath. And when you go out in the deeper water, now you’ll see the diving whales and their tales.
Gray whale watching tips
Study the swimming and diving patterns of whales to locate whales better. By watching their blow as the surface will help us locate them. The blow or spout is about 12’ high. They blow a few times 45 seconds apart and dive for about 3 to 5 minutes.
Gray whales are extremely friendly. If the boat engine is off, they will come and swim around the boat, say hi. They are curious. When the whales come closer, gently splash water to get their attention. They tend to swim toward the water movement. If they allow you, try touch them gently. I wasn’t that lucky but it’s possible.
#Disclosure: Our gray whale watching tour was sponsored by Villa del Palmar at the Islands of Loreto during the FAM trip. However, all the contents are made by my own opinion.