From the National Geographic Sea Bird in Baja California
Feb 19, 2013 - National Geographic Sea Bird
Gorda Banks & San José del Cabo
As if perfectly orchestrated, after breakfast we were greeted with humpback whales in these waters heading south in an area called Gorda Banks. Active surfacing, back and forth swimming with dives showing flukes and flipper slapping, everyone had a good opportunity to be introduced to these beautiful creatures. Still on the endangered species list, they are slowly coming back in numbers, this being one of the richest areas where they winter after a migration from British Columbia and Washington State, where they feed before heading south. Carlos Navarro, undersea specialist, gave a very informative talk about the many varieties of whales, especially related to the Gulf of California, with some very interesting details, like that humpbacks and grays have barnacles that are endemic to these particular whales. Another amazing fact is that sperm whales can dive and stay down for as long as two to three hours, and the main difference between dolphins and porpoises are the shapes of their teeth!
Late morning, we sailed into the new marina of San José del Cabo, where the ship docked all afternoon to bunker water and to give us the opportunity to explore this historic area. Some guests visited an estuary that had many migratory birds to view up close, while others opted to just go shopping and explore the downtown area, and visit a glass blowing factory.
Sailing south late afternoon towards the southernmost point of Baja California Sur, we were gladly sidetracked following a trio of humpbacks; mom, baby, and escort, who put on quite a show for over an hour. The yogic baby whale did numerous breaches, too many to count, landing on one side then the other, some with more air than others and some with more back-bending and belly showing. Very impressive, to say the least. As the sun set behind the Friars’ Rocks at Land’s End, we toasted with margaritas in hand to a rather fine day!