Bahia Almejas and Man o’War Cove

Feb 10, 2020 - National Geographic Sea Lion

This morning we returned to the mouth of Almejas Bay to search for gray whales. At first, the whale activity seemed quieter than yesterday. But soon, we saw numerous whales leaping out of the water, breaching, sometimes repeatedly or in near unison. It was breathtaking! Then, the activity picked up even more and seemingly countless whales were spyhopping all around our pangas. As far as we understand, the whales in this area are engaging in courtship and mating behavior. We had a great time watching them roll, dive, show their flukes, and blow in every direction.

At the very end of our outing, we encountered a few friendly whales that approached our boats for some interspecific interaction. We were so excited to have the opportunity to actually touch a gray whale. Pretty much everyone who wanted to was able to feel the soft, rubbery skin of a whale and have a wonderful experience connecting with these beautiful animals. This was the perfect moment to end our time with the whales of Baja.

After another fantastic lunch, we went ashore one last time, at Man o’War Cove. This site gave us a great last opportunity to walk on the beach, watch shorebirds forage on the mudflats, and explore both a mangrove ecosystem and a dune ecosystem. We had a great time on our nature walks. It was a lovely ending to a great trip.

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About the Author

Ivan Phillipsen


Ivan is a passionate naturalist with a background in scientific research. He has participated in studies of a diverse assortment of organisms: aspen trees, cactus wrens, aquatic snails, frogs, and beetles. He holds a M.S. in biology from Cal State San Bernardino and a Ph.D. in zoology from Oregon State University. The population genetics of freshwater animals was his area of focus. He has published a series of papers on the evolutionary biology of amphibians and aquatic insects. Ivan’s scientific work invariably involved backpacking into remote wilderness areas to find his secretive research subjects in their natural habitats.

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