It was our second day at Don Eddie’s campground, near San Quintin, Baja California, Mexico. We were joined by another overlanding crew: Colin, Carrie, and their little dog, Sprite, from Wake the Dead Diaries. We met these fine folks a few days earlier at the San Diego KOA, just before we crossed the border into Tijuana. Like us, they are migrating southward to Ushuaia, Argentina.
Colin and Carrie have had many adventures in Westfalia vans. Unfortunately they kept experiencing reliability issues with their ’87 Syncro so they decided to do the big Pan-American trip with a ’02 Toyota Tundra 4WD camper. While Gregor was fixing Lucky’s collapsing fuel tank, I was thinking that this couple may have made a smart choice to switch vehicles.
As we shared our travel plans, Carrie mentioned that we were in the middle of the grey whale migration season in Baja. Each year, about 20,000 grey whales migrate from as far north as Alaska down the Pacific coast to the Baja peninsula. Their goal is to return to their original birthplace and have babies in the shallow lagoons where they are safe from orcas, their only natural predators.
Several towns along the Pacific lagoons offer whale watching tours. Gregor and I decided to head for Laguna San Ignacio to witness the great migration. What a fantastic experience!
We must have seen about 30 different whales – mothers with calves, bulls chasing females, single whales showing off their tails. We even saw two particularly frisky whales mating!
Gregor took some awesome GoPro footage of the whales above and under the water, but unfortunately the WiFi here is so slow that we can’t possibly upload any videos.
I could try to describe what we saw and heard, but I don’t think I would really capture it. The whales are truly majestic and awesome to watch. So freaky that these huge creatures will travel such long distances and risk their lives against the elements to return home and have babies.
The grey whales are so gentle that it’s hard to believe they were once hunted to near extinction in these lagoons. We were happy to find out that the federal government and research organizations here in Mexico are protecting the migration waters so that others can enjoy these whales for years to come.