Magdalena Bay’s Friendly Grays
When the ocean becomes a petting zoo, we've achieved one of the most meaningful wildlife connections possible in Baja California Sur.
It’s far from guaranteed, but some female gray whales and their newborn calves approach our small boats seeking human contact in Magdalena Bay. From our three pangas – 10-person boats operated by local fishermen turned whale watching guides – we watched as one mom and her newborn floated at the surface for several minutes to everyone’s delight.
These two amazing marine mammals nudged up to our pangas, thoroughly enjoying the human hands that pet them as one might a friendly neighborhood dog. Mother grays can top out at 50-feet long and more than 70,000 pounds, so you can imagine what a sight it was to see one within arm’s length.
A look into a mother or her calf’s eyes during these encounters reveals the curiosity that resides within these amazingly intelligent creatures. They could easily swim away or dive deep into the bay’s protected waters. But instead, they choose to stay at the surface, gently nudging our small boats and giving guests a thrilling experience.
Soon these delightful animals will begin their northbound migration. Many travel as far as 6,000 miles to reach summer feeding grounds in the Bering and Chukchi Seas in Northwest Alaska.
Some will even reach the Arctic Ocean off Alaska’s north coast. Next winter, they’ll return to Magdalena or another nearby bay to give birth to their young and curiously greet new groups of UnCruisers from the Safari Endeavour.