Trish and I have been pretty much full time working on the boat since we arrived 5 weeks ago but have managed to get in a couple of road trips both north and south of La Paz to take a look at the Baja Peninsula.
On the first we headed north along highway 1 to one of the many lagoons on the Pacific Coast to see Gray Whales for the first time. Around 1,500 use the area and the pregnant mothers come south from the feeding grounds in Alaska to give berth in the warm, shallow, sheltered waters in the lagoons protected from the Pacific north westerlies by sand bars across the entrance.
We were a little late in the season and most of the Whales and calves had left the more southerly lagoons to begin the hazardous trip north. The mothers have not fed for many months and need to begin the journey as soon as possible but the calves need time to grow in size and strength if they are to survive the 3,000 mile trip. Along the way they are easy prey for Great White sharks and the many Orca pods that lie in wait.
We were unlucky that the day we chose was very windy with huge breakers at the mouth of the lagoon where the last of about 150 mothers and calves that had overwintered in the lagoon were swimming in the foaming waves, either waiting for the right time to head out into the open sea or possibly training the calves for what lies in wait before returning to calmer waters within the lagoon.
We did see about 5 females with calves at the mouth of the lagoon and another with her calve some miles inside.
Our second trip took us south to the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula and then a loop back north along the mainly dirt coast road.
We passed mile after mile of deserted white sand beaches, the road getting progressively worse and my concern for the brand new hire car getting progressively greater.