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Brilliant Baja - Pure and Simple

Earlier this year, I joined our Great Whales trip on the Pacific side of the Baja Peninsula in Mexico. A week on board the fabulous Searcher vessel produced sightings of blue and Bryde’s whales, numerous dolphin encounters, sea lions, elephant seals, Guadeloupe fur seals and the most amazing birding.

“Sea monsters on the horizon” came the shout from above the Captain’s bridge where three of the crew had been earnestly scanning the horizon for hours on an absolutely glorious day. Leaving one of Charley’s superb meals half eaten (as well as a can of Mexico’s finest Modelo lager!) was criminal but a cry like that can not be ignored. Dashing out on to the deck, blow holes could be seen all around us. The distinctive 45 degree angle of the spray could mean only one thing: sperm whales…and not just one!

Slowly, slowly, our skilled captain, Art, manoeuvred the Searcher so that six sperm whales were swimming in front of our bow akin to horses pulling a chariot. Their wrinkled skin was visible, they were so close, and we followed them for one blissful and timeless hour. Slowly the behaviour of these creatures of the deep began to change as they prepared for a feeding dive that could see them reaching depths of more than a kilometre below the surface, staying under for two hours. One fluked, followed by another, and another, until the sea surface was calm once more. {img_alt}

We could scarcely believe our luck. My word, the wildlife gods had been kind to us.

Our trip down the Pacific side of the Baja Peninsula from San Diego had produced sightings of blue and Bryde’s whales, numerous dolphin encounters, pinnipeds galore (sea lions, elephant seals, Guadeloupe fur seals) and fabulous birding. And that’s not all. The most humbling yet exhilarating chance to interact with wild grey whales in San Ignacio lagoon was quite frankly, a wildlife experience like no other and certainly one that I will forever treasure and never forget.

Stretching out, desperate to feel their silky soft skin, absolutely nothing can prepare you for the moment that these great gentle giants lift their heads out of the water and come towards you. Eye to eye with these magnificent creatures, reactions ranged from silent tears of joy, beaming grins and giggling like excitable school kids to maniacal shrieks of "yeeeeesssss!"   {img_alt}

A rare sighting of Eastern Pacific tropical orcas then welcomed us into the Sea of Cortez followed by the most incredible show of athletism, strength and agility as all day, humpbacks of varying shapes and sizes took us through a full repertoire of behaviour including flipper slapping, lob tailing, spy hopping  and breaching. You name it, they did it!

Next up came swimming with whale sharks and sea lions, jumping thresher sharks, bottlenose dolphins leaping through our wake, pelican fly-bys, magnificent frigatebirds, albatross, dwarf sperm whales (picture upside down black surfboards and you’ve got them!), shy yet charismatic Cortez garden eels, rattleless rattlesnakes, turtles, flying fish, red billed tropic birds and fabulous flying mobula rays. From sun up to sun down we were well and truly spoilt. {img_alt}

When a trip is this good, how on earth do you begin to explain it to someone else? You can’t narrow it down to the highlights. Every day was a highlight and yet I’ve barely touched on our crew, the food, the weather, the group.  

All in all, we were in the most wonderful, isolated bubble for two weeks. No WiFi, no phones, no outside world. Just us and spectacular nature. Flawless. Priceless. Perfection. 

Join us in Baja and discover the Great Whales of Mexico's Pacific Coast for yourself - the ultimate whale watching experience.