The Friendly Gray Whales of Baja, Mexico
The Great Gray Whale Migration to Baja Mexico’s Breeding Lagoons
Each winter from December through April, a magnificent event takes place along the Eastern Pacific shoreline. A primal calling brings forth the longest known mammal migration. From the cold Arctic waters of the Bering and Chukchi Sea where Pacific Gray Whales make their way South to the remote warm water lagoons of Mexico’s Baja peninsula.
It is in these desert lagoons that the propagation of these mighty giants occurs, and the future of their species is dependent. Although hunted to the brink of extinction only a few decades ago, Pacific Gray Whales have made a remarkable comeback from an estimated few thousand animals worldwide to a recently estimated population of 25,000 animals.
The Gray Whales’ remarkable resiliency to overcome the challenges of food shortages in the arctic; a virtual highway of ship traffic crossing their migration path; as well as Orca predation upon their calves make them one of nature’s most formidable of survivors. It is only in Baja’s breeding lagoons that they find refuge and peace from the challenges outside these warm water Sanctuaries. Here in Baja’s breeding Sanctuaries is where they face their ultimate challenge and where the survival of the fittest of their species paints an extraordinary story.
The Friendly Experience At San Ignacio Lagoon
Few wildlife experiences in the world can compare when it comes to San Ignacio Lagoon. In fact, for up-close whale watching, there is no place like it on the planet. Baja Ecotours invites you to join us at our remote, solar and wind powered Ecolodge on the shores of San Ignacio Lagoon where man and leviathan have formed a unique and peaceful relationship. Dubbed as “ballenas amistosas” (Spanish for “friendly whales”) by local fishermen because of their curious and gentle nature, these gentle giants often approach our skiffs to interact with us. Words can hardly describe what a friendly Gray Whale experience is like and often questions arise as to why these whales (that should have every reason not to interact with humans) approach our boats to interact with us. Perhaps the Gray Whale has a message of her own and it is in these breeding lagoons that their message is spread to us.
These friendly Gray Whales actually seek out human interaction. Often, proud mothers with newborn calves will approach our skiffs to present them to us while encouraging us to scratch their backs and baleen as they lounge around our skiffs. Over the years, this extraordinary behavior has become a regular occurrence only at San Ignacio Lagoon. It is this trusting gesture of friendship that makes a visit to San Ignacio Lagoon a once in a lifetime and unforgettable experience.
About Our Ecolodge and the Wildlife
Situated at the heart of the Viscaino Biosphere, Campo Cortez solar and wind powered Ecolodge lies on the shores of San Ignacio lagoon, at the mouth of a thriving bird estuary offering spectacular opportunities to view breeding and birthing Gray Whales throughout the day. A variety of species of migrating birds take refuge in the mangrove forest along our shoreline, which provides excellent bird watching and tide-pool walks. The local shoreline here is covered with millions of years of ancient whale fossils, bones, and shells.
This region of the Baja Peninsula is truly a piece of paradise that has been left untouched throughout thousands of generations and offers visitors a look at how the peninsula once was before man’s arrival.
There is no place like Campo Cortez at San Ignacio Lagoon. Remote, far from the daily car traffic of the lagoon, Campo Cortez is at the end of a long, winding dirt road over dunes and through low water crossings. Remote, quiet, peaceful and far from civilization is what best describe the location of Campo Cortez.