San Ignacio Lagoon,
The Most Friendly Whale
It really is a matter of luck. Three boats set out from our
camp to visit an island in the lagoon. Two of those boats
went directly to the island, while my boat met a fantastic
whale. Petting this whale was easy. The whale also rose out
of the water, leaning into the boat, and accepted kisses.
Gray whales are vegetarians without teeth, so there was
plenty of petting in the area of the whale's gigantic mouth.
But I never expected the whale to put its mouth on display.
As the whale opens its mouth right next to our boat, the white
that appears is apparently baleen, the strainer that captures
the whale's food, such as krill and plankton, from the water.
Or it could be the whale's tongue. I'm not an expert.
Still, the guy in our boat who decided he would try and
hold the whale's mouth open for a better view was
carrying things a bit too far. This particular whale did
not seem to care at all, rolling over by the side of our boat.
The whale entertained a fleet of boats, receiving human
contact from one boat after another for a lengthy period,
until it finally appeared satisfied with the experience. I
know we were. My best video was courtesy of this whale.
Even whale exits can be spectacular at San Ignacio,
whose friendly whales have no equal to my
knowledge. The lagoon was saved from a giant salt
plant, thanks to protests in Mexico and around the
One warning to photographers: whales exhale by
spouting, so this close contact can result in your
camera suddenly being drenched. It happened to me,
but the camcorder recovered.
If you like whale watching, watch my video.
Baja California, Mexico
If you have a high speed internet connection,
watch the Intrepid Berkeley Explorer's 15
minute video from San Ignacio, by clicking on:
The Whale's Tale