My idea of relaxation is floating in a small panga surrounded by a couple hundred tons of agitated mammals. My wife and I do this every year in San Ignacio Lagoon, Baja Mexico. Our annual hosts are Johnny Friday and Maldo Fischer of the Baja Ecotours. I must admit to a personal prejudice here, for over the years, these two gentlemen have become close friends. However, when bobbing on the water over a thirty ton animal, it pays to be with the best.
For reasons known only to the whales and God, the Grey whale comes here each year not only to bear its young, but also to seek out human contact. It is one thing to pet a whale in a Sea Park or watch it through glass. It is nothing like being on the open ocean and having a thirty foot whale gently take your hand in its mouth while it looks you in the eye.
San Ignacio Lagoon is one of those very rare places where two different species deliberately come to intermingle. It is a magical place, and I have never been disappointed. I have touched and petted dozens of whales. I have had them bring their babies up to me, proud as any mother can be. I have watched them nurse, and been fluke slapped for getting too close while they mated. I have watched them breech and had them spy-hop me to see how curious man must look to them.
At night, we fall asleep listening to them blow outside our tent while coyotes howl at the moon. At low tide, I like to walk through the lagoon, looking for the tiny octopus that dig into the sand and mark their boundary by piling stones outside the entrance.
I have watched Osprey carry off rabbits, and seen coyotes catch clams by sticking their tail into the shell when it breathes, then take it to a rock and smash it open. God works His magic in San Ignacio Lagoon, and it is why I will be there again next year.
By James Dorsey