Whales of Baja: jaw dropping moments at sea

By Rob

As the Baja whale watching season ends, it’s time to reflect on our visit to Baja and the Sea of Cortez. By any measure, our 12 days at sea represented one of the best wildlife tours we have ever experienced – thank god we went along with our group of guests when we had the chance! This tour will live long in the memory for so many reasons. At the time it felt like an incredible journey, and that is how it feels now, the experiences feel embedded and lasting.

This tour does something very different to most wildlife holidays; it is an all-encompassing sensory experience. Sights (mega pods of Dolphin at sunset), sounds (Humpback whale song over the boat’s hydrophone), and smells (the mist spray from a blue whale blow that coats your face and camera) all rolled into one memorable package. You learn and see so much and come away from it with a deeper appreciation of the oceans and the gentle majesty of whales and dolphins.

Over and over again we were treated to spectacles that left us speechless: Dolphins bow riding at night with bioluminescence raining over them, grey whales repeatedly approaching our boat and Panga, a pod of 150 pilot whales surrounding the boat, watching an almighty feeding frenzy as whales, dolphins and seas birds attack a bait ball at sunset, coming across a pod of over 25 sperm whales in the Sea of Cortez and watching them ‘log’ next to the boat for hours, dwarf sperm whales, humpbacks gliding under our boat, the list goes on and on… and on. 11 different Cetaceans in total, including Risso’s dolphin and Bryde’s whale. Where else can you see that?

But, is it always like this? No, is the simple answer – we wish it was! However, the truth is that this season has continually delivered incredible wildlife experiences. Each tour had something different (false killer whales were observed on the tour after ours) and each tour delivered. The sea never offers guarantees, but with this crew and boat, you have a damn good chance. These people are experts and you can see that in the way they navigate and interact with the wildlife. Another reason it felt such a privilege.

The one memory that still sends a chill down my spine is when a blue whale stayed next to our boat for over an hour, resting on the surface and coming up to breath every few minutes. After seeing a whale from 2 miles away in Antarctica, this was unbelievable and I remember struggling at the time with the enormity of the experience. It looked like a jumbo jet suspended in the sea as the whiteish grey of its body shone through the clear water. The scale was difficult to comprehend and photos (although we tried our best) would never do it justice. Sometimes you have to put the camera down and watch – difficult for me! It was just a moment to soak up and a time to acknowledge the privilege. It might sound over the top on this page, but this was a life affirming tour. To see the richness of the ocean at first hand and know that the deep blue sea still holds such abundance and diversity is magical. It leaves you with a sense of wonder.  

For all clients looking for something special and with an interest in marine life, I recommend this tour. The crew, the naturalist guides, the boat and of course the wildlife is beyond anything else. Get on board, it is epic!

http://www.encounterthewild.com/destination/north-america/baja-peninsula/

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