Today we set out to find gray whales in the lagoons on the Pacific side of the Baja Peninsula. We left National Geographic Venture early this morning, taking coaches north to the small town of Lopez Mateos.
We split into small groups and boarded several pangas—fiberglass fishing boats that the locals use. The morning was cool and calm. The water of the lagoon was glassy and beautiful. Right away, we encountered some interesting bird species. The sandy shores were teeming with herons, egrets, cormorants, gulls, and pelicans.
The boat captains—our pangueros—soon located a female gray whale and her young calf. We were excited to see these beautiful animals up close. The mother and her newborn moved along slowly in the green water. We observed them surfacing again and again. The whales came close to our boats on a few occasions. It was a wonderful experience!
We returned to the dock and drove a short distance to a local restaurant. We enjoyed a delicious lunch of fish and vegetables. We were entertained by the music of Los Coyotes, a local musical group. We also spotted several ospreys flying around the restaurant. These powerful raptors make their nests seemingly everywhere in this town.
Hopping back into our pangas, we headed back into the lagoon to search for more whales. Several large adults appeared, and we spent some quality time with them. Perhaps the most exciting moment was when one of the whales lifted its head straight up out of the water—a behavior called spyhopping.
It was a relaxing and lovely day of whale-watching in Baja California!