Wow. Just wow. Have I got an ahhhhhhmazing trip to share with you.
Did you know that there are friendly grey whales in San Ignacio Lagoon? And by friendly I mean, they come over to your tiny raft-sized boat and, quite literally, beg you to hug them and kiss them and squeal with delight when they blow gushing streams of salt water in your face. How do I know? Because that’s exactly what I just had the pleasure of experiencing myself.
You see, the grey whales migrate 10,000-12,000 miles from their bitter cold Arctic Sea feeding ground to their tropical calving lagoons of Baja California Sur, Mexico every year in late December. Scientists say that they’ve been making this trek for about 10,000 years, but 41 years ago, a young fisherman named Pachico Mayoral was the first person to encounter a friendly grey whale seeking out human interaction. (Can you imagine? A 50-foot gray whale approaching his small 18-foot wooden panga… Like Moby Dick come to life!) A legend in the whale watching industry, Pachico started running whale trips after his first friendly encounter in 1972. Now, he and his son, Jesus, run and co–own Pachico’s Eco Tours, the region’s only family-run business today.
We stayed in one of their five spacious, solar-powered cabins and were delightfully immersed in whale snot for hours each day. Since Pachico’s is a small eco-camp they are able to present a much more intimate experience than other area guides. No big crowds of people, no tightly packed boats, just you with a few new friends (no more than 7 per boat plus the captain!) and the whales… oh, and outstanding food and margaritas.
Rest assured fellow tree huggers, interaction with the whales is tightly controlled with each permit allowing one boat to cross over into a designated area for just an 90 minutes at a time. Our package with Pachico’s Eco-tours included two excursions each day with a scrumptious lunch served beachside in between.
Now you might be thinking, “Only an hour and a half, twice a day?” Let me just say I lived a lifetime in those three hours, with each experience seemingly better than the one before.
There are mom and baby whales everywhere, dolphins, sea lions and turtles too. Most of the baby whales can’t wait to rush over to the boat, but even the shy ones are gently nudged over by their moms. We had one mom and baby spend a completely relaxed, lolling around, hour and twenty minutes with us one afternoon. They simply couldn’t get enough of the belly rubs from us.
Another occasion brought two moms and two babies at the same time, and if that weren’t enough, the next day brought twice that — 4 moms and four babies, all of whom were moaning, “Pet me!! No!! Pet Me!!” Ok, not really. But it sure felt like it. Besides, I’m absolutely sure those little guys were bragging in whale-speak to their moms, “Mommy, Mommy!!! I touched a huuuuman!”
So there you have it. Another fantastic trip that you can take! Another incredible experience that you can have!
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