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The largest animals in the world!

Mexico day fourteen


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Early morning in Loreto

We’d received a note yesterday evening to say that the meeting time for this morning’s whale watching trip was to be 8.00 AM rather than 7.30. That meant a more relaxed start to the day but was still too early for the hotel breakfast. However we were able to buy coffees (good ones) at La Route in the Plaza and drink them on a bench outside before walking to the port and the whale sculpture that was the designated meeting point.

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Our hotel, the Posada de las Flores, from our breakfast spot

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The whale sculpture

Our guide Yvette soon appeared and introduced herself, followed by three more English tourists and their guide.

We were hoping in particular to see blue whales, the largest living animal (and some sources say the largest of all time). Although the species has recovered to some extent from near-extinction, thanks to a ban on hunting, it is still considered endangered and we had never seen one before. But now we were in a blue whale ‘hot spot’, the main reason for including Baja California Sur in our Mexico itinerary.

Known as the Sea of Cortez, and also the Gulf of California, the narrow inlet of the Pacific that separates the Baja peninsula from the Mexican mainland is considered one of the most diverse seas on earth, home to more than 5,000 species of micro-invertebrates. And where there are micro-invertebrates to form the bottom of the food chain, there are bigger animals too – sometimes much bigger. At the top end of that chain are the biggest animals on the planet. Blue whales come here to mate and calve each spring, while many other whale species are also to be seen, either seasonally or, in the case of fin and sperm whales, year-round.

We set off around 8.30 and very quickly found a group of several blue whales as well as a humpback and a fin whale. We spent some time in the area watching and photographing them. It was exciting when one blue came really close to our small boat!

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Blue whale

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Blue whale

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Humpback whale

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Fin whale

But eventually it was decided to look in some other locations. As the boat headed south (driven by our captain, Francisco) Yvette handed out slices of delicious homemade chocolate banana bread and fresh fruit including some excellent strawberries.

Over the course of the next couple of hours we found quite a few more blue whales and also saw another fin whale. In total there were at least fifteen blues. After that I lost count!

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Note the small dorsal fin

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Each tail is distinctive and helps scientists to identify the individuals

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About to disappear!

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After a while Yvette mentioned that Franciso had heard over his radio that there were some bottlenose dolphins on the other side of the nearby island. But before we could leave a couple more blue whales (one with a badly damaged tail) put on a show for us!

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Blue whale with damaged tail

When we reached the calmer waters between the island and mainland we soon found the dolphins, close to the island shore. We watched and photographed them for a bit, then Yvette passed out chicken wraps for lunch which we ate while watching the dolphins play.

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Bottlenose dolphins

Soon afterwards though it was time to leave. I was surprised at how long it took us to get back to Loreto, I hadn’t realised how far we had come. It was a fun but sometimes bumpy ride over the waves.

We got back mid afternoon, went back to the hotel to drop of the warmer clothes we'd needed earlier in the day, then went straight back out. We had a few ‘errands' to run – I had to make the remaining payment for another whale watching trip on Monday which I’d booked online, and Chris wanted to visit the pharmacy to replace some nail scissors he'd left behind at a hotel earlier in the trip. We then went and relaxed over a beer at the microbrewery, El Zopilote, in the plaza.

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Table decoration in Mi Loreto, and sign in Zapata

In the evening we ate at Mi Loreto, near the Mission church, with colourful decor, friendly service and tasty chicken in an almond mole sauce. Afterwards we went for a drink in Zapata, a cool bar where a local band was playing some old favourites on the street outside. We had a good time and got talking to a couple from California (near Sacramento) about their travels in in US in an airstream.

Posted by ToonSarah 07:56 Archived in Mexico Tagged food wildlife coast mexico sculpture whale_watching

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Comments

What an exciting day. You got to see so many whales!!!

by irenevt

It was fantastic Irene - definitely the best whale-watching trip we've ever done!

by ToonSarah

Wow, what a day! Talking about beautiful pictures. In Antarctica we saw lots of whales as well, they are so impressive ... taking pictures of them was a harder task, but when you see them ... my word, they are incredible!!!

by Ils1976

Thank you Ils :) I've found the only way to have a chance of capturing whales is to use the burst setting - out of ten or more photos one has a good chance of being decent!

by ToonSarah

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