The Gentle Giants of the Baja Lagoons of Mexico
Whales and humans have had a bitter history. We've slaughtered them to the verge of their extinction, and whaling is still going on today. Despite the tension between us, these Baja whales pushed away the negativity and welcomed tourists to their homes. The grey whales travel to the shallow Baja lagoons from the Arctic and gather here to give birth and to shield themselves and their new calves away from the many threats in the deep blue. Some may think coming here is invading the whales' space, but the gentle giants appeared unafraid and overwhelmingly friendly. We would often spot some whales afar, swimming up to reveal their large heads above the surface so they can get a good look at us with their little sparkling eyes. Sometimes, we would even see them breach magnificently, but the only reason they jump so high is so that they can to soothe the itchy barnacles on their skin. On several very lucky occasions, the whales would approach our little speed boat. Most of them were protective but friendly mothers, nudging their young whales and encouraging them to come to play with us. Others who were alone would just come to use our boat as a back scratcher!
A baby grey whale and its mother who approached us during our time in the lagoon.
Every whale that we encountered sprayed and soaked us with their powerful breaths. They'd come up to the surface by our little boat and gaze upon us with their sparkling black eyes. I'd then submerge my hand into the freezing waters, and feel the whales' thick blubber meet my palm. I was quite surprised to find small hairs on their skin too! These moments with the gentle giants made me think of the past and present and how human beings could dare slaughter such beautiful creatures.
Baby and mother grey whales side by side in the lagoon waters of Baja Califronia Sur, Mexico.