Season of the Heart

Eye of Baby Grey Whale in San Ignacio Lagoon

“What great, intelligent eyes stared back into his; was it pure imagination, or did an almost human sense of fun also lurk in their depths?

Why were these graceful sea-beasts so fond of man, to whom they owed so little. It made one feel that the human race was worth something after all, it it could inspire such unselfish devotion.”

– Arthur C clarke, the deep range

From the icy waters of the Arctic, grey whales journey 12,000 miles every year to the warm waters of Baja lagoons. Here, they calve their young and begin their training for the long return to the north. The ‘guesstimate’ of their species age and the duration of this journey is 30 million years.

To bear witness to these majestic gentle giants is a heart-altering experience. To experience a mother whale cajole her calf to be touched, is a testament, not to humans, but to the whales themselves. To an emotion we may never fully understand. They reach out for us, even as in the 1700s and 1800s had hunted them near to extinction.

I’ve had the great good fortune to visit the whales during multiple phases of their time in the lagoon, and shared the luxury of touching whales with family and friends. Each month offers a different and unique experience in whale behavior.

Late December and early January, the calves are born and their milky ‘faces’ trail alongside their mother’s protective bodies. February, the romp begins. The calves gain strength, swim faster and are guided to the whale watching boats to make that human connection. Spy-hopping males begin to show off and mating games begin. March, stronger and larger, the mom teaches them to skim the mudflats for plankton and krill. Single males and females without calves being to depart. Early April, with the calves now trained to swim harder and faster against the incoming and outgoing tides, departures being in earnest. By May, the lagoons are once again in quiet wait for the next grey whale season.

If you can make the time, the experience of touching a whale is one that you will never forget. As for guides and accommodations, my absolute favorite is Baja Ecotours,