Whale Watching – the Humpbacks
The Humpback whales know how to put on a show!
Our second whale watching trip in Baja California, Mexico was out of Cabo San Lucas at the southern tip of Baja. You can read about our Puerto San Carlos gray whale encounter here.
Cabo San Lucas
Compared to Magdalena Bay, Cabo San Lucas was like being in Las Vegas. High rise hotels, expensive shopping malls, people strolling restaurant row and time share sales reps trying to take money out of your wallet.
I’m just glad that the whales weren’t part of a Cirque du Soleil show.
Having a more developed tourism base which features big game fishing, means that tour boats are everywhere. For this trip I chose a company, Whale Watch Cabo, featuring guides that are trained marine biologists. What a great choice. I wanted to learn more about the whales during the tour and our guide, Laura, did not disappoint. She talked about migration patterns, physical characteristics, interdependencies with other wildlife, and whale behaviors we were likely to see. The boat captain, Miguel, is also one of the local whale rescue volunteers that aid whales in distress such as being entangled in fishing lines.
Our guide had a nice digital camera from which she would be sending on trip photos (for free) so we could choose to use our own cameras or simply enjoy the experience. I experimented with slow motion video hoping to catch inspiring mid-air stills and breath-taking breaches. The results were pretty much unusable so I can’t recommend this for your trip.
The guide’s camera doubles as a research tool. On the tour they are documenting the whales that are in Cabo. Each whale’s tail markings are unique just like a fingerprint, a photo while the whale is diving is perfect to identify just who it is.
We chose the morning tour to avoid the crush of afternoon boats at Land’s End and in the harbor. (Plus, if no whales are spotted then they will reschedule you so I was doubling down. We could hop onto an afternoon tour if the morning was a bust.)
Land’s End is an iconic photo op and beautiful in the glow of early morning.
I can’t believe our luck on this day. After a spy hop to check that we weren’t a threat, three humpbacks were breaching over and over again. Then came fin slaps. All the various behaviors that we came to see. Scientists don’t know exactly what all these behaviors do so they can just theorize. Were two males showing off for a female? Were the whales signaling their location to others? Were they just playing in the warm waters?
Doesn’t matter – they were thrilling us will all their displays. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.
Here are some of the photos via the Whale Watch Cabo tour company. Our guide Laura took quite a number of shots to aid in the identification of each whale.
The Santa Monica Pier Aquarium just celebrated it’s annual Whale of a Weekend (I attended last year’s event too) where I learned that the whale migration has just shifted for the year. Two weeks ago was the point when more whales were counted traveling north then heading south.
Looks like it’s time to investigate whale watching tours here in Los Angeles!