The Friendly Gray Whales of Laguna San Ignacio

(This post originally published following a trip to Baja and the Sea of Cortez in 2009)

One of the highlights of our 2009 Baja trip was seeing and touching … yes, touching, the friendly gray whales of Laguna San Ignacio. This next image is a Gray Whale cow that swam up to our skiff, rolled on her side, and took a good look at us! Experiencing a whale, eye to eye, is a moving experience and one that can never be forgotten! The gray whales of Laguna San Ignacio are “people-friendly”. This area is a controlled sanctuary area where the whales are protected. The cows show up late in the year and have their calves in the protected area, before leaving in spring to migrate back to their summer homes. The cows will come right up to the skiffs and allow you to touch/rub them. And what does that feel like? The closest thing I can compare it to is the feel of an inner tube (one of those rubber contraptions that are used inside some tires) that is inflated. And if the cow has a calf, she often will get on the outside of the calf and nudge the calf right up to the skiff, just to show the calf that the humans here are no threat. Quite a concept, huh! This was definitely one of the highlights of our trip!

The next image is a Gray Whale calf that swam near us for a couple of minutes. I especially like this image; you can see the baleen in the calf’s mouth, that is used to strain food out of the water:

Posted in Mammals, Nature Photography, Photography from a kayak, Travel Photography
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