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Baja Cruise 2016 - superb whale-watching in the Mexican sun!

Grey Whale, Baja by Lee Morgan

Tour leader Peter Dunn describes the pleasures of a whale-watching cruise down the sunny, wildlife-rich Baja Peninsula …
 
If you watched the recent BBC ‘Big Blue’ live shows from Monterey Bay in the western United States, your appetite for seeing marine wildlife is probably at an all-time high! I was out on the water while the shows were being broadcast … and Monterey is always a fantastic trip (read more about our recent tour here). However, if you fancy even closer encounters with whales, why not visit the acknowledged mecca of whale-watching - Baja and the Sea of Cortez? Our 14-day holiday (with departures in February and March) to the Baja Peninsula, includes days spent in the San Ignacio lagoon with Grey Whales, and ranks among the top few whale-watching trips in the world.
 
Beginning in San Diego, there’s a chance to enjoy some land-based birdwatching - with species such as Long-billed Curlew, Acorn Woodpecker and Marbled Godwit (the latter showing the salmon-coloured underwings not seen in UK species) among the highlights - before boarding our cruise boat. Next you will enjoy days of lazy cruising accompanied by whales and dolphins alongside the boat, trips out on Zodiacs to visit island outcrops, or snorkelling with seals.
 
As we cruise southwards down the Baja Peninsula, the sense of anticipation mounts. For many, the highlight of the trip is the chance of seemingly impossibly close encounters with Grey Whales in San Ignacio lagoon. Each year, the whales come to the lagoon to mate and give birth before returning north with their young. Before I visited San Ignacio and experienced its Grey Whales for myself, I remember a colleague describing them to me as ‘friendly’. I scoffed. Whales aren’t ‘friendly’, I thought, worried by his blatant anthropomorphising. But they can be! You’d be hard pressed to put any other interpretation on the whales’ behaviour as they engage with passengers in the local pangas (small boats). The female whales will physically push their young to the boats for the occupants to rub and pat their noses, chins and mouths. The calves take turns spy-hopping in front of each person in turn, sometimes refusing to ‘move on’ to the next person until they have had a scratch or rub! It is always a great pleasure to watch my fellow travellers’ expressions of delight mixed with awe, as they interact with the whales! The whole experience is very emotional for everyone who comes in contact with these whales and it is the talking point for the rest of the tour.
 
We are also accompanied on our cruises by hundreds – sometimes thousands – of Common Dolphins leaping and porpoising alongside the boat, as well as numerous birds and stunning scenery. With four tours each year, on two boats, this is an unmissable holiday for anyone with an enthusiasm for seeing great whales, and with an interest in semi-desert wildlife. It is also a wonderful time to escape our cold grey winter and enjoy some welcome warm sunshine and bright blue skies.
 
Book this holiday:
If you would like to join one of our ‘Baja California & Sea of Cortez' cruises in 2016, and see the Grey Whales and other wildlife of this superb coast for yourself, please call Paul on 01962 733051 or email paul@naturetrek.co.uk