Baby Whales in Baja

05-23-2018

Expedition Guide, Wilson Barrett, Safari Endeavour

This week on the Safari Endeavour we’ve been bombarded by babies.

It started on Sunday.

We had barely finished breakfast orientations when we heard reports of blows on the horizon. The tall mist-filled exhalation of large marine mammals is always exciting to spot down here in Baja.

The nutrient rich waters and our general proximity to the Pacific Ocean offer us the opportunity to witness a variety of species of whales.

However, this morning we noticed something strange about these blows. They were happening consecutively in the same place, 10-12 breaths at a time and they were asymmetrically shooting at an angle.

Upon approach we noticed one whale turned to two… then three… then eight. It was a deep diving pod of sperm whale!

Sperm whales live in social family groups and like dolphins; they live and work together from infancy to adulthood. After observing the pod for an hour we were able to start picking out different individuals, including large adults over 60 feet and some smaller juveniles that would often surface next to what had to be mom.

What a treat on the first morning. But the babies didn’t stop there. Later that day we ran into a solitary juvenile humpback cruising into the sunset exploring the ever-expanding reaches of his ocean.

On Tuesday while cruising the islands of the Loreto Bay Marine Park we ran into some serious commotion.

A dark and stirring blob of bodies and splashes soon revealed itself to be a magnificent super pod of long-beaked common dolphins engaged in a feeding frenzy!

Once closer our presence was acknowledged and received. The animated bunch, over 100 strong, stampeded toward our steel vessel and instantly began frolicking in our wake.

Dozens of dolphins were springing airborne out of the water at once. Just a few feet from us their colorful bodies proved detailed and unique. Some had bright saddle patches, others had scarring, and some had the unmistakable size and pinkish abdomen of a fresh newbie. Babies again! The first observed of the season.

Dolphins in Baja

Later that day as the sun sunk lower in the calm air, silhouetting the Sierra Giganta Mountains to the west, another set of blows were spotted.

Through the binoculars, all we could tell was it came from a large whale. The plume of hot carbon dioxide and sea vapor ejected over 35 feet above the dark flat back.

Captivated by the sheer size 100 feet away from it. We cautiously made our way closer only to find they had vanished.

Eight long minutes passed before suddenly a slim 25 foot silvery whale surfaced a stones throw away from the port bow.

It was a baby blue whale!

Moments after it came into view, the long howling exhale of mom cut through the air from our starboard quarter. Her clean crested back and seemingly small dorsal fin glided forward and down in a subtle arch that seemed to last a minute, and the two descended into what must have been comfortable proximity.

All these marvelous cetacean encounters and we were still a day away from our venture to the gray whale sanctuary in Magdalena Bay.



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