Each year in early autumn, one of nature’s most delightful signs of seasonal change occurs – the migration of hundreds of whales from the frigid waters of the Arctic to the warm, calm waters surrounding Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula.
For enthusiasts the whale facts that matter relate to their specific migratory habits as they make their way south completing the 12,000-mile journey by December, and staying until April when they return northward. Ideal climate, shallow waters, salinity and abundant marine life make the bays and lagoons north of Los Cabos the perfect place for whales to birth and rear their young. Of the 11 species of whales found worldwide, eight venture to the waters off Baja California, including Minke, Bryde, Fin, Humpback, Gray and Blue whales.
You are likely to see the following whales in the Los Cabos Area:
A favorite for whale watchers as they frequently perform aerial displays such as breaching (jumping out of the water), or slapping the surface with their pectoral fins, tails, or heads. They are known for their long “pectoral” fins which can measure up to 15 feet in length and which are used for increased maneuverability, even allowing this huge creature to go backwards.
The humpback whale can grow in length up to 60 feet and can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. It lives for approximately 50 years on tiny crustaceans (mostly krill), plankton, and small fish, and consumes up to 3,000 pounds of food per day.
The blue whale is the largest animal ever known to have existed, growing up to 100 feet in length and weighing up to 450,000 pounds. During the 20th century, the species was almost exterminated due to commercial whaling. The blue whale has slowly recovered following the global whaling ban but it remains endangered and faces a number of serious threats including ship strikes and the impact of climate change.
This whale has a truly global distribution, occurring in all oceans except the Arctic. But despite this, they are one of the rarest of the whales, numbering between 10,000 – 25,000. Most biologists consider them to be among the most endangered of the great whales. Only one population, in the eastern North Pacific off Mexico’s Baja California, is showing real signs of recovery and currently numbers about 2,000 animals.
If you are a nature lover then head off to Mexico’ Baja California, one of the world’s ideal regions for the best of whale watching.