Whale Watching In Baja California, Mexico. Experience Grey Whales Off Baja

Published 14 January 11 02:29 PM

Photo.- Bruce Herman

By whalewatchingbaja 

Every winter more than 20,000 California grey whales (Eschrichtius robustus) migrate 6,000 miles from their summer feeding grounds in the cold waters of the Bering and Chukchi Seas to the warm waters in the lagoons off Baja California's central Pacific coast. From December through March, three lagoons provide the California Grey Whale with protected waters for breeding and calving.

Grey whales have gathered in Baja for centuries where they winter, procreate and give birth to their young before heading north to their Arctic feeding grounds. Although some Greys go all the way south to Magdalena Bay, most stop halfway down the Baja Peninsula, in or near the Guerrero Negro, Ojo de Liebre and San Ignacio lagoons within the Vizcaino reserve.

Whale watching in Baja has become a major part of the Mexican tourist industry. Fortunately, female Greys mate one year and give birth the next, assuring that the lagoons are filled each winter with calves and with males breaching in courtship displays. It is also common to encounter friendly whales that approach close to the tour boats.

Historically, these lagoons have not always provided a safe environment for the adult whales to engage in courtship and breeding as hunters decimated the population a century ago. The Pacific Grey Whale was by then an endangered species. Mexico was one of the first nations to call for the protection of whales in the 1930s, and created the world's first whale sanctuary at San Ignacio Lagoon in 1954. The scope of protection for the whales and the size of the protected area expanded over the years, culminating in the creation of the biosphere reserve called El Vizcaino.

Whale watching activity within this area is now carefully regulated, yet still offers tourists some of the world's best opportunities and the closest encounters with these magnificent creatures.



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