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Whales in Mexico November 29, 2007 9:09 AM

Mexico

grey whale Every year thousands of California gray whales migrate 6,000 miles from the cold waters of the Bering and Chukchi Seas to the warm waters of Baja California's central Pacific coast. From mid-December through March, Scammon's Lagoon is the destination of the largest number of these magnificent mammals, approximately 1,500 (including newborn calves) every year.

To view the California gray whales as they blow, sound, mate and calve in their natural habitat is an awe-inspiring experience that will never be forgotten!

More than 20 species of cetaceans spend time around Baja. Grays breed and calve in the lagoons along the Pacific. Bahia Magdalena is a center for gray whale observation. Humpbacks and blues breed in the Sea of Cortez; Bahia de los Angeles is the center there. If you're the kind of person who prefers to remain on shore, the Cabo San Lucas at the peninsula's southern tip is a good spot to observe passing whales and have your feet firmly planted on the ground.

The Sonoran desert and clear blue waters surrounding La Unica near Bahia de Los Angeles (Bay of the Angels) offer a wide variety of diverse habitats and abundant food supply. You'll participate in one of the most spectacular collection of plants, marine mammals and birds found anywhere in the world. 23 species of whales and dolphins, including the largest whales in the world, the Blue and Fin whales have been sighted in Canal de Los Baenes (whale canal), just east of La Unica. 120 species of cactus, 800 species of fish and the largest concentration of seabirds found anywhere in the Sea of Cortez are yours to discover.

grey whale Venture into the winter vacation home of the Pacific Gray Whales. San Ignacio Lagoon is the perfect place for whale watchers to observe these majestic creatures in their natural habitat. Gray whales have gathered in San Ignacio for centuries to calve, cavort and relax before heading north to their Arctic feeding grounds.

See first hand how these beautiful cetaceans have touched the hearts of millions. With a short skiff ride out into the lagoon prepare to experience a Gray Whale surfacing just a few feet from your skiff. You will be amazed by the urge to reach out and touch this extraordinary animal.

By the turn of the century, only 2,000 California gray whales were in existence. But as a result of international treaties and the extensive efforts of the Mexican government, the worldwide California gray whale population is now estimated at over 20,000.

Magdalena Bay.
humpback whale Sheltered by low barrier islands, the waters of Magdalena Bay provide a perfect and peaceful winter home to hundreds of California Gray Whales. These magnanimous creatures allow us to watch them roll, breach and tend to their young, an experience both exhilarating and humbling.

400 mile voyage around the tip of Baja and witness the mysterious, languorous movements of Blue, Finback, California Gray and Humpback Whales - all of which flock to Baja's waters each winter.

Along the west coast of the Baja Peninsula, three lagoons provide the California Gray Whale with protected waters at the end of their annual migration from the Arctic. The surreal landscape of the ever changing sand dunes provides a dramatic background for Baja's most celebrated and magnificent visitors, the gray whales.

What you might see there: Gray whales, humpbacks, blues, fins, Bryde's whales, seis, minkes
When to go: All year
Viewing options: Shoreline, boat

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 November 30, 2007 10:02 AM

oh how I would love to see them, very beautiful! and dolphines would love to see them also  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
Singing with Gray Whales in Baja November 30, 2007 10:16 AM

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 December 01, 2007 4:02 PM

oh my, sis they were right next to that little boat!!!! Im amazed they didnt accidentally knock the boat over. they must be very sweet wales, love humans, how very beautiful, thought people would have to be on huge ships to see them but the wales were wayyyy bigger then those tiny boats and came right up to them!!! did you ever go there? they could touch them! im sorry, I am jsut so amazed, I would be speechless if I was there beautiful, ty so much!  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
 December 02, 2007 7:50 AM

yes, they are intelligent and loving animals, that´s why we all should be against whale killers.  [ send green star]
 
 December 03, 2007 7:31 PM

yes among all the other animal killers    [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
 December 04, 2007 6:43 AM

humans......

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Amazing February 03, 2008 10:02 AM

Anyon  been  the  the  site?  It  looks  awesome!!

Michael

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 February 03, 2008 10:39 AM

not me, but it looks amazing. I would love to see them and to see the dolphins (which sadly enough are also being hunted, makes me sick what people do)  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
My Favorite February 23, 2008 6:05 AM

When you see them up close, it's so amazing! You can no longer act like they do not matter because it becomes a part of you. Now when I see trash floating on the ocean (I'm currently sailing) it is heartbreaking to know how humans have inflicted ourselves on other species to the point of threatening their existance. Kudos for the post, I hope everyone gets the privilidge to 'see' ocean creatures in real time. It changes you.  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
The Friendly Whales of Mexico! January 25, 2009 3:13 PM

In the warm winter waters of Baja California live calves, cows, and bulls that are in a word large. The calves at birth are almost 3 Meters (15 feet) long. When full grown the bulls are about 12M (40 feet), and the cows are up to 16 M or about 50 feet and can weigh up to 32,000 kg (70,000 lb., or 35 tons). To give you an idea as to how big a cow is … next time you see one of those big cross country buses … it's about the same length as these cows. What are we talking about? Paul Bunion's Blue Ox "Babe" and his family? No! We are talking about the friendly whales of Baja California, Mexico,  the gray whale (Echrichtius Robustus). GENERAL DESCRIPTION

Grays are a mid size whale generally gray in color and are covered with patches of barnacles and other parasites (whale lice). Patterns of the barnacles differ from whale to whale and allow positive identification of individuals.  These parasites seem to bother the whales sensitive skins and whales have been seen apparently trying to rub them off on the sea floor or against the bottoms of boats or other floating structures. Breaching may also be an attempt to dislodge these annoyances. Gray whales, at least in Mexican waters, are surprisingly  warm to the touch. There skin is not a smooth as that of faster cetaceans, like dolphin, because when the barnacles are finally scraped off a slight indentation is left in the skin that can be seen as well as felt. The are also short (1 cm or so in length) thick  hairs (a few mm) along the upper lip of some individuals. In place of the dorsal (top) fin are a number of bumps or knuckles running along the back, starting a bit past half way and extending towards the tail. The head of the gray whale is also some what narrow. From my observations of the whales in Laguna San Ignacio it can be deduced that the head and front flippers are use for directional control, and the tail is used for propulsion. That tail is about 5 M or 16 feet wide and is said to generate about 500 horse power.

COWS AND CALVES

Most gray whales are born in the shallow lagoons in Baja California. While in the lagoons the Mothers teach there calves how to swim! YES that’s right. The mothers must TEACH the calves how to swim, supporting them for the first few days of life.  The calfs instinctually know to breath when there blowhole is out of the water and close it when it is not. Swiming LapsWhile in the lagoons the mothers take the calves to the mouth of the lagoons and have them swim against the tides when it changes. Mother and calf are also seen swimming laps to help get the babies in shape for there long swim to summer Arctic feeding grounds.

The baby calves are about 5 M (15 feet) long at birth and weigh about a ton, or perhaps a bit more - that’s about the size of a small car. The calves drink milk that is 55% fat. The "normal" milk you have on your kitchen table is less than 4% fat! On this diet the baby whales gain about 50 Kg (150 Lbs) a day!
 

MIGRATION and FEEDING

While gray whales winter, give birth, and mate in Baja they then make the longest migration know of any mammal. Swimming along the North American coastline at about 5 kph (3 mph) from the warm waters of Baja to the cold waters of the Bering and Chukchi seas off Alaska, a one way trip of  about 9,700 km (6,000 mi). There the gray whales feed on small tube worms living on the bottom, about 120 m (395 ft) in depth. From the time the whales left the previous fall (November) the adults have not eaten anything until arriving in there arctic feeding grounds in the spring (April). Now the grays start foraging along the sea floor. Turning on there side the whales gulp huge mouthfuls of silt, and using there tongue strain the mud and water through there baleen leaving small tube worms and small crustaceans behind to be swallowed. It is now known that the grays will feed on small fish and mysids while migrating given the opportunity.

MIGRATION and FEEDING

While gray whales winter, give birth, and mate in Baja they then make the longest migration know of any mammal. Swimming along the North American coastline at about 5 kph (3 mph) from the warm waters of Baja to the cold waters of the Bering and Chukchi seas off Alaska, a one way trip of  about 9,700 km (6,000 mi). There the gray whales feed on small tube worms living on the bottom, about 120 m (395 ft) in depth. From the time the whales left the previous fall (November) the adults have not eaten anything until arriving in there arctic feeding grounds in the spring (April). Now the grays start foraging along the sea floor. Turning on there side the whales gulp huge mouthfuls of silt, and using there tongue strain the mud and water through there baleen leaving small tube worms and small crustaceans behind to be swallowed. It is now known that the grays will feed on small fish and mysids while migrating given the opportunity.
 

Follows is a picture from the book WHALES by Seymour Simon, published by Scholastic (0-439-06237-3). The picture shows a gray whale actually feeding on the bottom, as you can see the whale is feeding from the side of his(or her) mouth.

Feeding Whale

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 January 25, 2009 3:15 PM

SPECIALIZATION AND CLASSIFICATION

The 130- 180 baleen plates in the whales upper jaw are shorter than any other baleen whales, and only two, or rarely 3 or 4, pleats are present to allow for expansion of the lower mouth.  The small number of mouth groves, short baleen, lack of a dorsal fin, slow swimming speed, "unusual" bottom feeding style, and giving birth in the Mexican lagoons   has left a split in the scientific community. Some think that grays are close to the original whale stock, others see these as specialization making Grays an advanced whale type. I guess only the whales and the maker know for sure.

Grays are classified as follows:

  • Kingdom: Animalia - There animals as opposed to plants or fungi, or bacteria.
  • Phylum: Chordata - Have a Notchcords / dorsal nerve cord and gill slits at some point in the animals life. (For example we humans only have gill slits in the womb).
  • Subphylum: Vertebrata - Has a vertebral column (backbone).
  • Class: Mammalia - Has Hair, is Endothermic (warm blooded) and gives Milk. Not all mammals have live births (2 lay eggs) ... but all female mammals can nurture there young with milk. Whale milk is about 55% fat by the way! Cow milk is a bit more than 4% (in the carton 3.5% or less)!
  • Order: Cetacea - Whales, dolphins, and Porpoises. Cetacea live in ALL seas of the world and some large rivers. General characteristics of the order Cetacea are:
       
    1. Horizontal Tail Flukes
    2. Front limbs modified into paddle shaped flippers
    3. No external digits or claws on front flippers
    4. No External hind limbs
    5. Sparse Bristles of hair...on head. May be absent in mature individuals.
    6. Blubber layer
    7. Nostrils that open on the highest point on head to a single or double blowhole.
    8. No external Ears (Grays have an internal ear wax plug that shows annual growth rings)
    9. Reduced or absent sense of smell. Extremely well developed hearing.
  • Suborder: Mysticeti - Baleen whales. In addition to Baleen, this order has paired blowholes. Odontoceti or "toothed" whales have a single blow hole.
  • Family: Eschrichtidea
  • Subfamily: Agaphelinae
  • Genus: Eschrichtius
  • Subgenus: robustus
  • Dealings with Man

    Gray whales are also called "Devil Fish" because of the love the mothers show for there calves. This sounds strange but let me explain. When man was hunting the Grays almost to extinction - twice - whalers found for them a gold mine in the shallow lagoons in Baja California. The whalers would harpoon the baby whales to get at the large mother whales!  The mothers would "charge" the whalers trying to save her calf and would then be killed as well. Whalers did hunt the Gray Whales that used to live along the Asian coast to extinction.  Fortunately in 1946 gray whales became legally protected and have increased to over 21,000 souls. With the number of whales approaching what is thought to be there historical numbers [along the North American coast] the whales have been removed from the Endangered Species List, but are still protected by the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, the International Whaling Commission, and by the Marine Protection Act of 1972.

    However...The United States has allowed the Makah Indian Nation to kill 5 and maim 5 gray whales. The Russians have also gotten into the act and are slaughtering Gray Whales as well!

    We have taught Grays to befriend mankind. It is immoral to kill them! We are NOT just talking about a few whales as Vice President Gore has stated. The problems are that the United States went around the International Whaling Commission, so now other "historical" whaling nations, like Japan and Norway want to start whaling as well!

    Write to the IWC, the President, the United Nations(It might help), you local paper, or even the Makah Nation!

    Support any or all of the following. The following groups to my knowledge are Actively, and PEACEABLY involved in AntiWhaling activities.

  • West Coast Anti-Whaling Society
  • Delphys Foundation <= Has a great video!
  • The Prince of Whales!
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     January 25, 2009 3:17 PM

    The Makah have ATTACKED the peaceful demonstrators and stolen there property (A Zodiac Rubber boat).  Using slingshots the Makah have attacked with rocks, ball bearings, and even fish hooks!

    When I think of interactions between Grays and Humans ... I'd rather not think of the above. Rather the following!
     

    A Whale spraying us for fun ... A whale spraying the other boat!

                                                ...another posing for a picture!A small whale Posing for a picture.

      Rubbing a whale. That mouth is about as along as the ponga almost 5 meters (14 feet)!

    Scratching
    Patting a whale on the snout ... look at all the barnacles! Small whale snout
    Some Gray Whale Behaviors.

    Swim:

    Gray whales cruise at about 3 or 4 knots, it is this slow speed that makes it possible for the barnacles and lice to stay attached. A Gray can maintain a speed of 10 knots for about an hour. Top speed is obtained while breaching and as been calculated to be over 30 knots.  Whales swim by moving there tails up and down. Fish move from side to side.

    Spout or Blow: 

    Whale spout is really just what happens when the whale exhales. Gray Whales, like all whales, are mammals and breathe air. When the warm moist air from inside the whale leaves the blowhole on the top it condenses and you can see the spout!  Baleen whales have a divided blow hole, kind of like your nose. From the front or rear the spout has a thin heart shaped look to it and is 2 or 3 meters high (6-10 feet). Toothed whales only have a single blow hole. Different species of cetaceans can be discerned by there spouts more or less.

    Spy Hop:

    Spy Hopping is where the whale sticks his (or her) head out above the water for a look around. Some times this is just a quick up and down motion, other times the whales may leave there heads above the water for extended times. In shallow waters the whales may actually be "standing" with there tail flukes on the sea floor. Spy hoping may be an aid in navigation, or perhaps the whale just wants to see something on the surface. Whales see quite well both above water and below. There eyes contain powerful muscles that change the shape of the lens to allow it to focus both below and above the surface.

    Sounding:

    Whales will generally take a few short breaths and then dive deep for a number of minutes. Grays can stay submerged for over 8 minutes and dive to deeper than 150 Meters (500 feet). Before slipping totally underwater the tail or fluke is shown. A Tail of A Whale!

    Breaching:

    Breaching is where a whale propels much of there body out of the water. I have seen whale do this 11 or 12 times in a row. I might be a man whale showing off to the lady whales, it might be to dislodge lice and barnacles, or it might just be whales having a good time.
     

    New Feature ... VIDEO (QuickTime3 Format)

    Close up of whale swimming by on the side(Mexico 1998)[1.1MB]

    Gray Whale going South (USA 1998)[1.7 MB]

    Same Gray Whale swimming south (USA 1998) [4.5 MB]

    The following VIDEO are in QuickTime4 Format

    Close up of whale swimming by (Mexico 1999)[1.1MB]

    Cow and Calf (Mexico 1999)[1.2 MB]

    Jim eating a taco (Mexico 1999) [1.5 MB]

    See who went last year (1999) - from the MOOvie [3.5 MB]

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     January 25, 2009 3:18 PM

    Well to get back to my home page ... Click Here

    Send Comments to: webmaster@dulcimoo.com

    Be sure to say what it's about (i. e. ... the gray whale page)

    Last Update: 19:06:00 26-May-2008 CE/PDT

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    Mexico whale sharks - Mexico squalo balena February 16, 2009 9:59 AM

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    Whales in Mexico February 17, 2009 8:22 AM

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    Entangled Humpback Whale Rescued in Banderas Bay, México February 21, 2009 1:22 PM

    http://vallarta-adventures.com/blog/
    Mexican Navy officials, along with local marine mammal experts, teamed up to free a Humpback whale from a life-threatening entanglement Friday. Members of the Mexican Navy (SEMAR), Vallarta Adventures and Instituto Technológico del Mar (ITMAR) collaborated and successfully unraveled a life-threatening fishing line from the whale, which was located in the North of Bay of Banderas, near Destiladeras beach.

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     February 21, 2009 2:24 PM


    Animals  (tags: animaladvocates, endangered, GoodNews, rescued, whales )

    Teresa
    - 1 minute ago - youtube.com

    Mexican Navy officials, along with local marine mammal experts, teamed up to free a Humpback whale from a life-threatening entanglement Friday. Members of the Mexican Navy (SEMAR), Vallarta Adventures and Instituto Technológico del Mar (ITMAR) collaborate

     

    http://www.care2.com/news/member/531904814/1056050

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    anonymous  February 21, 2009 2:57 PM

    Nice topic, mi vida. 

    I had never got up close and personal with the big whales, but I did hang out at Lime Kiln Point on San Juan Island, in Washington state.  Got to see some Orcas feeding and jumping out of the water.  Beautiful sight, especially to see a mama and her baby swimming side by side.  Wow! 

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     February 24, 2009 9:30 AM

    Thank you baby!

    I wish we can go to baja and watch the whales together.

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    Humpback Whales interact with Dolphins ! , Mexico 2007 March 24, 2009 5:12 PM

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    Whale Watching: Mom and Baby - Mexico March 26, 2009 5:55 PM

    Whale watching - Mexico Baja peninsula: Mother and Baby whale.

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     March 26, 2009 6:33 PM

    thank-you_51.gif Thank you friend image by ronronna3  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
     
     March 28, 2009 7:56 AM

    You´re welcome

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    Amazingly Friendly Whale April 05, 2009 1:45 PM

    Excerpt from "The Whale's Tale", Intrepid Berkeley Explorer free, non-commercial streaming video of the friendly Gray Whales at San Ignacio Lagoon, Baja California, Mexico. For more information and to watch this film plus 30 other free, non-commercial, streaming travel videos from every continent, please ask a search engine for:
    Intrepid Berkeley Explorer

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    Whale watching in Mexico April 10, 2009 7:45 PM

     We saw lots of whales close up that day. Even our guide was surprised. One of them hit Lee with its tail. I got to touch one, but I had to put my hand in the water.

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    Sperm Whale Gulf of Mexico April 13, 2009 2:27 PM

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     May 11, 2009 6:57 PM

    />
    Humpback Whales Breaching in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico 2006   video/>
    Animals  (tags: Mexico, Puerto Vallarta, amazing, animaladvocates, animals, conservation, endangered, environment, ethics, goodnews, habitat, protection, society, whales )

    Teresa
    - 5 hours ago - youtube.com
    Pieter, Care2 member now, for our pride, made this video: We filmed this video with 3 cameras in only one whale-tour in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The Humpback whales are there from november till march.
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    Great Pics n Videos May 14, 2009 11:28 AM

    Whales are fascinating creatures no doubt and need to be preserved as a species at any cost. The videos and pics shared in this thread are wonderful....

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     May 31, 2009 6:21 PM

    Thanks Sarah, I love the sea and all it´s creatures.

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    This is not in Mexico but I found it great for this toipc June 02, 2009 4:34 PM

    />
    Optus: Whalesong   video/>
    Animals  (tags: whales, music, comunication, sea, beautiful, animals, conservation, environment, extinction, goodnews )

    Teresa
    - 21 hours ago - youtube.com
    a spectacular piece of film
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     January 21, 2010 2:10 PM

    Hi,I love whales and all marine mammals,and the whalers make me sick! You know what they tried to say? The pro whalers said if we do not kill whales,we will kill all the fish. I am so happy to know that whales are not killed in Mexico Oh,I had to make new profile, I could not log in w/the other This 1 is good though Blessings to all

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