Where We Be
|Robin and a baby whale come
face to face at San Ignacio Lagoon
|San Ignacio Lagoon -- Baja, Mexico
There are three main places to see gray whales
in Baja: Ojo de Liebre Lagoon (near Guerrero
Negro), San Ignacio Lagoon (about three hours
south), and Magdalena Bay (another six hours
south). Between the first two lagoons we feel
like we've had more wonderful gray whale
encounters than most people could hope for in
a lifetime. We hope we're just as lucky seeing a
blue whale off Loreto in the Sea of Cortez.
You can get to San Ignacio Lagoon in a regular
car, although the last 16 km of the 60 km road
are unpaved and bumpy. (Each year they seem
to pave a little more of the road.) But it's worth
the effort if you stay overnight in one of Kuyima
Ecotour's bungalows or tents (or your own RV).
That way you can whale watch in the morning,
savor fresh fish and jumbo shrimp at the
restaurant, enjoy sunset over the water, and
revel in the incredible starscape at night.
We camped for one night, using the tents and
equipment provided by Kuyima, and went on
two morning whale watches. Gray whales were
in abundance, especially on the second day,
including baby whales intent on a visit. At left
you can see a baby whale coming right up to the
boat, bonking its head a little on the gunwale,
and getting patted by Robin. Spectacular!
Another baby whale playfully bit at the splashes
of water being directed at it from the boat. Yet
another splashed Robin with a thrust of its tail.
Meanwhile, an adult whale surprised us all and
breached right in front of us! (You'll have to
take my word for it -- I couldn't get the camera
pointed in time.) What an amazing day -- every
bit as good as the one at Ojo de Liebre.
The little town of San Ignacio makes the perfect
base before and after visiting the lagoon. It's a
leafy oasis in the midst of the Vizcaino Desert.
You'll find palm trees galore, a quaint central
square, and photogenic Mission San Ignacio
anchoring the square. It only takes five minutes
to see the town, but it's a good five minutes.
|We love this view on the way in and out of San Ignacio
|Inside the mission is a gilded wooden
retablo with old oil portraits of the saints
|Anchoring the town square is
photogenic Mission San Ignacio
|The tiny town of San Ignacio makes a great base before and after exploring
the lagoon. As you can see, it's an oasis of palm trees in the desert.
|Ospreys are common, in part because of the nesting sites that have been
set up for them. We watched them flying back and forth feeding their young.
|View looking back at Kuyima Camp from the cabanas
|If you're not into camping, you can also stay in one of
Kuyima's little cabanas just down the road a ways
|Our home was one of Kuyima's dome tents, outfitted
with two cots, sleeping bags, sheets, and pillows. Luxury!
|One thing they have here in plenty is seashells -- huge piles of them.
They use the white shells to mark pathways throughout the camp.
|We returned to Kuyima Camp and had an awesome lunch
of jumbo shrimp with garlic butter. Boy, were they good.
|This sea lion was resting so peacefully on top of the water we thought
it might be dead at first, but it was just relaxing the day away
|My turn to say hi to a baby
|It's easy to fly or drive to Baja, so come and experience this wonder of nature for yourself
while escaping from winter at the same time (Feb / Mar is high season for whale watching)
|Adult whales are gentle giants -- they're careful not to harm us with their huge bodies
and powerful tails -- but the babies aren't always quite so disciplined. One baby gave Robin
quite a bath with a quick thrust of its tail. Intentional or unintentional? We'll never know.
|We drank wine in the shade of our tent while watching pelicans and
gulls dive-bomb for fish. In the distance we could see whale spouts.
|Sunset was oh-so-peaceful. Later, after a dinner of grilled yellowtail, we laid outside our tent for
an hour looking up at the night sky. The stars were breathtaking since there was little artificial light.
|A few simple eateries line the main square, and quiet
streets like this one radiate out from the center
|We stayed at Baja Oasis Motel ($35 per night)
before and after camping at the lagoon
|Gray whales genuinely seem to enjoy contact with humans --
like this baby poking its snout up for a quick rub
|Adult gray whales are bigger than the pangas we use to visit them
|A pelican glides inches away from the surface
|At the other end of the square is Kuyima's town office, where
you can check in and get directions and a map to the lagoon