About the author
The tweet version of this biography is that Keith is an ex-hippie vagabond
with a passion for living life fully. He tries to live every day as if
it were his last. Really!
To view some unusual photos of Keith, taken during his travels to such
strange places as Kandahar, Afghanistan, Sichuan China, Baffin Island
in the Arctic click on this link.
Note from the author
This book was written in the Philippine Islands where I presently
live in a small native style hut on Malapascua Island. The writing
of this book
took place during a sixty day writing blitz. Except for recent updates
and odd whale happenings the research was mostly accomplished during
the preceding 20 years and was stored on my laptop or in my biological
drive. Some of my newsletter articles formed the backbone for a couple
of the chapters, but most of the writing happened during this past
Life is routine and not too glamorous living in a small bamboo hut
on an island that is 1 mile wide and 3 miles long. But living here
gave me the
opportunity to get up with the roosters at 5 or 6 in the morning and
write until 9 or 10 am. Then I would take a break, walk the two miles
Moonlight Resort where I used their wifi and drank a bottle of water
while responding to my business emails.
I tried to write this book twice in the past years,
but I did not have the right mindset either time. I had planned for
these sixty days to be set aside to write a book about my experiences
on the walk across Thailand. As I got organized to write that book,
a newsletter article I was writing for the Gray Whale Advocate website
just took off and became this book.
There have been too many people who crossed my path and helped me to
better understand things about the whales, for me to mention them all.
Veterinarians taught me a lot about mammal physiology. So many doctors
and surgeons talked to me about how parts of our bodies and other animal
bodies work. The many boat captains I call friends, have been an immense
help to me. If I ask any of them to look for some behavior by the whales
or to keep their eyes open for a particular whale, I can always count
on them. I have been fortunate to have marine biologists from the USA,
Canada, South America, South Africa, Italy and Britain on trips with
me. They all added to my understanding and to my knowledge base.
Some people may think that at times my writing style is too personal
and not formal enough. For me everything about the Gray whales is personal.
It is a part of me. I did not want to make this book into some reportorial
listing of Gray whale information and I hope I succeed in entertaining
you while you read all about the gray whales.
Thank you for reading this book, but especially thank you for caring
about the whales!
Malapascua Island, The Philippines
May 1, 2012
What am I working on now? Two books are in the
works. The first book is tentatively called
"Blue Whales My Ten Years Of Discovery"
As you might expect this book is similar in style to the Gray Whales
book, but tells all about blue whales and my ten years whale watching
with them. Lots of interesting photos, all the facts and figures anyone
would want to read and some speculation and antecdotes about individual
blue whales that have been identified by researchers.
in the Temple
" and will chronicle my 1500 kilometer
back packing walk across the widest part of North
from Myanmar on the west to Laos on the East. I finished the first
1000 kilometers and in November, 2013 will complete the remainder
walk. My goal is to publish this book at the end of the 2014 whale
In 1994 Keith began taking whale watchers south from the USA to accompany
him on his frequent weekend trips to visit the Gray whales. Information
about Keith going to Baja to see whales spread by word of mouth. People
wanting to go whale watching would get his phone number from some friend
and then contact him. Keith would arrange a meeting point and they would
then travel south to camp on the shore of Laguna Ojo de Liebre or in bad
weather to stay in a motel in Guerrero Negro. In 1998 Baja Jones Adventures
started operation. The Gray Whale Advocate email newsletter started that
Since then Keith has driven more than 250,000 miles
on Baja Highway #1 and it’s side roads. As a guide and naturalist
he has more than 5,000 hours logged sitting or standing in small pangas
on the three whale watching
lagoons. For many years he held a Mexican Green Card work visa allowing
him to work as a whale watching guide. He is perhaps the only foreigner
to ever be given this specific work permit by the Mexican Immigration authorities.
He has an unabashed passion to be close to the Gray whales, to observe
them and to come to understand all that he can about them. He loves to
talk about the whales.
His life for 20 years has revolved around the migration. Until 2008 Keith
still worked in a second career as a construction manager. When New Year
arrived each year he would once again find himself begging some boss for
a 90 day leave of absence. All too frequently he was forced to quit another
high paying job. This willingness to just up and leave a good job time after
time gave him a bit of a reputation as being unable to stick with something.
It was difficult to explain in a job interview why he had left the last 4
positions after only 8 or 9 months.
But to Keith those were just jobs and for him meaningless except to help
support him between gray whale migrations. The Gray whales and his involvement
with them are what give meaning to his life.