Being from the Pacific Northwest , we are not new to whale-watching. We have done trips around the San Juan islands to see pods of Orcas at a reasonable distance, even seen a Gray Whale resting on a shore on the Central Oregon coast. So we went in with a certain level of excitement to see the migratory humpback whales all the way down at Baja California but not with the expectation to be blown away. Boy, were we wrong about that!
First things first – our captain and the two ladies- marine biologist Barbara and photographer/guide Tania were absolutely awesome. They kept us safe, all the while regaling us with whale anecdotes and facts about the region and its geographical features. The close up views of the famous El Arco , Lovers beach and Land’s End with the colony of sea lions resting on the rocks were an added bonus. The boat ride on the the beautiful turquoise Sea of Cortez was more or less smooth but as soon as we got onto Pacific waters, it was extremely choppy and rough. It was thrilling (and scary) , not to mention the huge waves drenching us, but the anticipation started building up.
Only a few minutes into the deep blue waters of the Pacific, we spotted the back of our first whale. The boat started to get closer while maintaining a safe distance. Everyone went on alert mode and the back of the whale kept bobbing in and out of water and soon it displayed a massive tail splash. Barbara explained what a whale fluke was and how whales use fluke slapping to communicate amongst themselves. That was the beginning of a fantastic show that went on for close to an hour.
Very soon another whale joined this one followed by an incredible almost synchronized display of pectoral fin slapping. The huge white fins standing out of the deep blue waters were a sight to behold! We could clearly see the bumps on the fin and were amazed to know that those were actually hair follicles. The alternate fin slapping and tail flipping activities were enough to take our collective breaths away, until a third whale, a juvenile, joined the party. One of the most surreal moments of my life was when the two adults simultaneously thrust their pectoral fins in the air, while the juvenile, with perfect timing, staged a head lunge! It may sound strange, but this particular moment made me emotional and brought tears to my eyes as one of life’s cherished moments.
By this time, it was almost an hour and a half, and time to head back. We were all a happy bunch, except one person in the group who was seasick and unwell. The captain and his team took really good care of her.
The active whales had calmed down a bit, but we didn’t know that a final surprise was in store for us! Right before the boat turned back, one of the whales decided to gift us the parting gift of a majestic full breach. This is the one thing that every whale watcher wants to see on a trip like this, and we were lucky that the whales did not deprive us of thar most amazing sight of half its body twisting and turning out of the water.
-Kakali as told by Whale Watch Cabo