Yesterday, I featured some Gray Whales spyhopping in Laguna San Ignacio, located on the Pacific side of the Baja Peninsula. Today, I’m featuring some of these friendly whales breaching out of the water.
Breaching is leaping out of the water, where typically at least 40% of the animal’s body clears the water. Qualitatively, a breach is a genuine jump with an intent to clear the water. To witness a breach, in person, is quite an awesome thing … watching the huge body sliding, seemingly effortlessly, out of the water, then the resounding crash back into the water … accompanied with the huge splash! Scientists don’t know definitively why the whales breach, but often speculate that it is a mood thing … when happy, show it by breaching. Sounds good to me … it makes me happy, too!
Here are a few gray whale breaches that we witnessed in Laguna San Ignacio. In this first series, the whale has his mouth open, enabling us to see his baleen (the white, fibrous material in his mouth). These whales are not toothed, but have baleen to strain food out of the water:
In this next series, I almost missed it! Sitting in a small ponga in the middle of the lagoon, you never know when/where the next action will take place! In the first image of this sequence, you can see the whale’s eye (the shiny area below the fin):
As you can see, the weather was not the best for watching/photographing the whales. We constantly fought strong winds, very wavy water, and cloudy/murky conditions.
Coming up … one more behavior of the friendly Gray Whales of Laguna San Ignacio I want to feature. In fact, one of the reasons we traveled to Laguna San Ignacio … you won’t want to miss this one! (will probably be published on Saturday) :o)