FUN-travel: Baja Wilderness & Whale Adventure – Guerrero Negro – Day 4

March 18, 2015 by  

Whale Watching on Steroids!

  • After another spectacular sunrise, we packed up, then savored our final meal here of mushroom cheese omelets and refried beans before embarking for our next big adventure. At 9:00 we boarded our boats and headed over to the Bahía de Los Ángeles airstrip for our flight to Guerrero Negro, located on the Pacific side. We made good time crossing the calm flat sea, so when we arrived in town we had time to explore. We walked over to the small museum that houses artifacts from the gold mining days. (Actually, yesterday those of us on the fishing boat had come here because Tom made a stop at the store)

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  • The local taxi van picked us up and by 10:30, after the federal soldiers checked our paperwork, we were airborne for our short one hour flight. Again we were lucky, as it was a nice, relatively smooth ride. We arrived at 12:30 (time change to MST) and after passing through security, which consisted of more armed federal soldiers checking bags on a folding table on the tarmac, were taken by van to see the gray whales in Laguna Ojo de Liebre (Scammon’s Lagoon).
  • They packed us a lunch, which we ate on the way, so we didn’t waste precious time of our afternoon boat tour. Where we boarded was approximately 18 miles from the town and the gravel road took us through the largest salt-making facility on the planet. It produces more than 7 million metric tons of salt each year. The salt here is not mined, but extracted from ocean water by evaporation.

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  • Laguna Ojo de Liebre actually consists of two lagoons – an inner and an outer – which are part of the Vizcaíno Biosphere Reserve UNESCO World Heritage Site. We arrived at the inner lagoon shortly before 3:00 pm for our first gray whale experience.
  • After walking out in the shallow water to hop on our panga boat (the pier was damaged in the 2014 hurricane) we motored off to the middle of the massive lagoon to sit and wait for the whales to appear.

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FUN-fact – Twenty-foot panga boats await you each day to take you out among the whales, which are often just offshore. These Mexican fishing boats are about half the size of a full grown gray whale, and enable you to be at water level in order to have direct contact with the whales as they swim in these pristine waters.

  • Tom said, “You have to have good boat karma, and the whales will come.” And that they did! After a short wait, mom and her calf appeared. They dove and surfaced circling within 30 feet of our boat before venturing closer. It was apparent at that point they ready for us to pet them. For the next hour we sat in amazement as they splashed, sprayed, and played around us; returning repeatedly to every side of the boat for more pets.

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  • By 5:00, after an ice cold Pacifico, we were headed back to get settled in at the Casa Laguna B & B in downtown Guerrero Negro. We made one quick stop at the liquor store nearby to stock up on wine. We had all pretty much had our fill of margaritas at this point and they had a fairly decent selection.
  • We were greeted warmly by Sophia, who was preparing our dinner, and given our room assignments. Ours was at the very end with a king size bed and private bath. We were so ready for a real shower! Only one small glitch, the power was out and there was no hot water. So we uncorked our wine, gathered around the table, and feasted on fresh guacamole, chips, and salsa.

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  • Fortunately the stove was gas and they were busy cooking up more delights for us. We started with carrot soup, followed by more local fresh fish, rice, and a lovely dessert. By then the power had been restored and we retreated to our room for a nice hot shower.

FUN-facts – Gray whales measure from 16 ft in length for newborns to 43–49 ft for adults (females tend to be slightly larger than adult males). The gray whale has a dark slate-gray color and is covered by characteristic gray-white patterns, scars left by parasites which drop off in its cold feeding grounds.

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