San Ignacio Lagoon

Feb 02, 2019 - National Geographic Venture

We woke up anchored at the vicinity of Laguna San Ignacio (San Ignacio Lagoon), one of four breeding lagoons for Baja California gray whales along the Pacific coast of the Baja California Peninsula. Gray whales are type of baleen whale, and they happen to perform one of the largest migrations among mammals. The newborn gray whales start out in the warm, protected waters of these Mexican lagoons. They are reared by their mothers for the better part of three months before they begin migration north, which involves traveling between 6,000 to 7,000 nautical miles, one way! They will follow the coast of North America to spend the summer in cold waters off the Bering and Chukchi Seas, feeding on benthic amphipods from the bottom of the sea floor. Then, at the end of fall, they will return south to their breeding grounds in Mexico to begin the process again.

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About the Author

Octavio Maravilla


Octavio was born in Mexico City and moved to La Paz at age 19, to study Marine Biology at the Baja California Sur State University. He began his field research on California sea lions, working at Los Islotes, a small rookery close to La Paz City. Later, he expanded his research to all the sea lion colonies in the Gulf of California and over the Pacific coast of the Baja California Peninsula — aside sea lions, he studied three other species of Mexican pinnipeds, harbor seals, elephant seals, and Guadalupe fur seals.

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