The ocean churns as a 36-ton mammal swims up to the boat. With your arm plunged into the cool water, you await the touch of a California gray whale. Like a house cat craving a scratch on the head, the whale pushes its rubbery skin, rough with barnacles and battle scars from boats and orcas, against your palm. From January through March, hundreds of gray whales settle in Magdalena Bay, on the southwest coast of Mexico’s Baja peninsula. From their feeding grounds off the coast of Alaska, they’ve made one of the longest animal migrations—more than 5,000 miles—to mate, give birth, and raise their young here. Visitors who join local fishermen and outfitters in the bay are practically guaranteed to see whales, and the luckiest will encounter “friendlies,” including proud mothers who nudge their wrinkly black calves toward the surface.
Sea Kayak Adventures offers a new trip that combines gray whale sightings in Magdalena Bay with blue and fin whale watching in the Sea of Cortez. From $1,495. (800) 616-1943,
This appeared in the January/February 2013 issue.
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Gray Whale Encounters
While on a cruise in Baja, Mexico we had the incredible opportunity to spend several days in a small lagoon called Magdelena Bay on the Pacific side of the peninsula. We would take the small boats, called Zodiacs, out each morning and sit and wait for the gray whales to surface near us. The whales would come right up to us, oftentimes we didn't even have to move!
During the winter months breeding season for the California gray whales, Magdalena Bay becomes an enchanted sanctuary for whale lovers to get their chance to touch or lucky enough to kiss a gray. I absolutely love this place for the friendliest of the whales around. Whale lovin' is in the air from the mating to nursing of the calf's. The whales particularly love the splashing & screaming from the humans who want them to come & play with them. The beautiful pristine untouched Magdalena Bay must not be missed during a holiday to Baja California Sur. Whales I looove you!