From January through to the end of March the mighty Grey Whale annual migration passes along Mexico’s Baja Peninsular. Dotted along the coastline lie protective inlets, where expectant mothers seek the warmer & safer waters to give birth. These inlets are ideal for the young calf to spend its first few months, rapidly gaining strength & weight, when it’s strong enough to begin the long, slow swim back to the Northern Alaska feeding grounds.
Seeing the Grey Whales was one of the items on our wish list for this trip. So when our neighbour here at the campground offered us the use of their big, thirsty V8 gas guzzling suburban, we couldn’t refuse. Driving in tandem with Pat & Brenda Montani, long time friends from Whistler, who also spend the winter months in Baja. We set off early, driving 5 hours up to the small port town of Lopez Mateo. Situated along one of these Pacific coastal inlets, it has prospered well from offering tourists organized whale watching and sport fishing tours. Even in these crazy Covid times, the carpark was full, thankfully, as we were arriving, they were all leaving.
Having the boat to ourselves, our Captain set off out into the channel to find the baby whales. The kids perched themselves up at the bow with the job of Spotter. Scanning the surface for the tell tale sign of the blow spout. These month or so old beauties were surfacing frequently as they can only hold their breath a minute or two. Sleek and black, they graciously glide to the surface, coming within a couple of meters of the boat. Mumma was always below, coming up to breathe every 5 mins or so. Both totally relaxed even though they were constantly followed by the paparazzi.
Leaving the inlet, heading into the open water, we were treated to a full display of an adult male breaching five or six times as we passed by. We were all so excited, it was as if he was performing just for us! Then as the boat slowed & stopped we were greeted by two, curious & friendly adult males. They must be as fascinated by us as we are of them. They stayed with us for a good half hour, Gently swimming under the boat, poking their long giant heads up for a pat. Their sleek & smooth grey skin is covered in barnacles. They would roll over, gently flop their enormous pectoral fins without a splash. Just like dogs coming for a belly rub or head scratch. Their tiny eyes looked straight at me saying ‘I see you human, you small strange creature that lives above my world’.
It was such a magical afternoon, we were all in awe of these, gentle giants of the deep.
Still our days drive wasn’t yet done, back in the suburban we had another tiring 3.5 hours drive up to San Juanico, Scorpion Bay, where we planned to spend a couple of nights. Arriving tired but happy, we made ourselves comfortable on the roof terrace of the Scorpion Bay Hotel with a nice cold margarita.
Returning to Scorpion Bay or San Juanico was nice for a couple of days, Pat & Brenda’s first time, so we strolled along the cliff tops past point 1,2,3 & 4. Each point is a surf break from beginner to experienced waves. We spent a few nights here on our way down in October 2019. We did bring along the boogie boards and SUP, but the waves weren’t happening.
Friday morning, Tim, Pat & the kids went fishing and had a blast catching all kinds of fish while Brenda & I took a long walk along the beach before driving back to La Paz together. Filling our freezer with enough delicious fish to feed us till we leave. It was a great mini vacation and a chance to spend some quality time with Pat & Brenda, who are now excited to bring their own grandchildren to see the Whales.