Whale Trip Log March 2
Sea of Cortez, Loreto,
Baja California Sur, Mexico
This trip log was tallied and written by Keith Jones. 8:30 a.m.
: We departed from the Loreto harbor dock after waiting 30 minutes
for the Marine Park Ranger to arrive at his office to sell us the park
admission bracelets. There was no wind and the ocean was dead calm. The
air temperature was about 70 degrees F.
Counting myself our group size was 13. The group consisted of two English
citizens from Wales, 6 Americans from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maine,
and couple from Argentina and a couple from France. I’m from Southern
We used three boats today. The boats can hold 5 or six passengers comfortably,
with three sitting in formed in place seats and three seated on the raised
rear deck which serves as a bench seat. Fernando, my Loreto Blue Whale
expert who has studied Blue Whales off of Loreto for 20 years, took the
lead with Luis and Tito captaining the other two boats. 8:40 a.m.
: Spotted a mother and baby finback
We watched this pair
for 30 minutes. During this time they dived 5 times. On two occasions,
between dives they approached close to our boat and once the baby swam
directly beneath our boat. 9:00 a.m.
: Spotted 2 more
, but we chose to continue
to follow the mother and baby. 9:15 a.m.:
Spotted multiple blows and decided it was time to leave the
mother/baby pair. We next stayed 20 minutes with a trio of adult
who were swimming and hunting together. 9:35 a.m.
: We saw dolphins
in the distance and chose to leave the 3 finback
whales to go play with dolphins. This was a pod of 50 to 100
There were several pods of dolphins about this same size in this area and
we moved amongst them for one hour, enjoying their bow riding antics. 10:30 a.m
.: Our boat captain suggested we go further south, to the end
of Isla Carmen in hopes we might find a blue whale. Our group had been
so engrossed in the activities so far that nobody had asked me where the
blue whales are hiding. 11:00 a.m.
: We arrived at the south end of Isla Carmen and sighted
a blue whale
. We were able to stay with this blue whale for an hour. It was feeding
and pretty much ignored us. But each time it dived our group played the
guessing game of deciding where it would surface. The captain of the boat
I was in, Tito, would motor to where we guessed and then we would float
for 5 to 15 minutes. This blue whale stayed on the surface 3 to 5 minutes
between dives and would then dive and stay down 5 to 15 minutes. 12:10 p.m.
: The other boats called to us that they were hungry. They directed
us to their location, since we had become separated when my boat went to
play with the dolphins. 12:20 p.m.:
As we motored to our lunch break island location, we spotted 2 more finback whales
. Tito stopped and we watched them for five minutes.
When they dived, we continued to the lunch rendezvous. 1:15 p.m.
: Lunch ended and we started back toward the dock. From this southerly
end of Isla Carmen it is ALWAYS a long and bumpy ride north to Loreto.
Today was a great weather day and the swells were small, so the ride was
relatively smooth. 1:35 p.m.
: We stopped to observe a humpback
that sadly had a blue
fish net snarled around its tail. This whale was shy and after 5 minutes
we parted ways. 1:50 p.m.: Spotted two adult finback whales
traveling and hunting together.
We watched them for a couple dives, about 20 minutes total before continuing
north to Loreto. 3:30 p.m
.: Arrived back at the harbor in Loreto. Tally of cetacean sightings: Blue whales
– 1 adult Finback whales -
11 finback whales (one baby) Humpback whales
– 1 adult Common dolphins
– multiple pods, perhaps 500 for the day.
In addition to the whales, we saw many birds that included Blue
, both brown and white Pelicans
and at least 20 other species.
Also seen today were several seals and sea lions.
Guide comment: During the day we were almost always following and watching
whales with virtually no search time. We had a total of 30 minutes boat
time after the dolphins before we came across the Blue whale. It would
be almost impossible to have a more whale packed day out here on the Sea
The population of Blue Whales staying near Loreto is estimated to be
12 to 15 this year, a good number. Fernando has managed to identify half
these from past photos. The Finback whale population is estimated around
50. No estimate for Humpback whales. Two Bryde’s whales have been
identified, but no estimate of how many are around this area.
After a day like this, all I have to say is I LOVE MY JOB!