Thursday, March 28, 2013

Baja Video Blog - Episode 4

Wherein I do my best impression of a TV talking head due to a lack of footage and photos from our 5 nights in San Ignacio, we attempt to rebuild Brad's bike in a small town far from anywhere, and we have an incredible encounter with two very friendly Gray Whales.


5 comments:

Capt. Schmoe said...

Unbelievable video. As much as the biking/repair stuff has been enjoyable, the whale encounter is by far the most amazing thing so far.

What do you suppose their motivation to stay so near your boat was?

Obviously it wasn't food. It would seem with such a high concentration of whales in the area, social interaction wouldn't be a factor. Curiosity? A higher consciousness than we give them credit for? Just glad you weren't trying to harpoon them?.

Regardless amazing vid.

Thanks for sharing this trip with us.

Sam said...

I'd chock it up to curiosity, except these guys get so many identical pangas visiting them during their time in the lagoons. These two actually were already visiting with another panga that was about to leave when we pulled up, so I assume for some length of time. Now, not all the grays are nearly this friendly - the majority we saw would get somewhat close to the boats, but then dive under them. But Laguna San Ignacio does have a reputation for having a number of very friendly whales. At other lagoons it's rarer to touch them, especially for any length of time.

Laguna San Ignacio was the first place that Mexican fisherman first began interacting with Grays, back in the 1970s. Prior to then they were greatly feared, for they had a reputation for going after small boats that stemmed back to the days of the whalers that hunted them nearly to extinction in the lagoons (their blubber reserves are greatest when they arrive in Baja, because they don't eat much during the winter)...the whalers called them "Devilfish." It took generations (of both whales and humans) for the mutual animosity to wear off. In the case of these two, particularly the smaller one, there seemed to be a genuine enjoyment of interacting with humans. I guess it's not that outlandish - we see the same thing everyday with dogs and other domestic species, and dolphins are well known for their fairly high-level interactions with humans. But I think most of us think of whales as being impersonal due to their size and lack of expressive faces. It was an eye-opener for me...absolutely a highlight of the trip.

Anonymous said...

Do you a flickr account for your travels? I would love to see all the photos on the bike trip to Alaska. I came to your blog from a link on another blog and have read a couple of years worth. Great writing.

Anonymous said...

Great video Sam! Awesome stuff, been reading your blog since the start keep it up with your adventures.

Sam said...

Anonymous - Unfortunately no. Used to have a Picasa account for some of the early images on this blog but have more recently just uploaded to blogger. You can go back to July-Augustish 2011 to see the Alaska trip, although I only posted a portion of all the pics.