Baja California - Whales and More

Discussion in 'Special Sessions, Events, and Tour Announcements' started by bobhoge, Aug 30, 2005.

  1. Here is a great trip that we have done twice (1992 and 1997). It is really easy and close by, especially if you are on the West Coast.

    LOCATION: Baja California, Mexico

    PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES: Grey Whales, Fin Whales, Blue Whales, Humpback Whales, Sperm Whales, Boobies (Masked, Blue-footed, , Brown), Magnificent Frigatebirds, Sea Lions, Porpoise, Fish, Cacti and Desert Lands.

    WHERE TO STAY: We went with Lindblad Expeditions www.expeditions.com aboard the 64 Passenger Sea Lion, they also have the sister ship Sea Bird and later bring up the Sea Voyager.

    BEST TIME TO GO: Mid January to Late March to see the Grey Whales in Magdalena Bay (one week). Trips in early January travel only in the Sea of Cortez and add a train trip up the Copper Canyon. The last trip in March is a Photo Expedition and also goes farther North on the Pacific Side to San Ignacio Lagoon for even more Grey Whales and then extends for another week by going farther North in the Sea of Cortez also (2 weeks).

    DETAILS: We took this trip in February 1992 and January 1997. The 1992 trip was 10 days long and went farther North like the current last trip of the year. The 1997 trip was 7 days and like the current 7 day trip. To us the Grey Whales in Magdalena Bay was the highlight of the trip. The bay is large, like San Francisco Bay, and maybe 1/4 of the 10,000 Grey Whales spend the winter in this bay! There are spouts everywhere you look! You go out in Zodiacs to see them at close range (sometimes right next to the Zodiac) at eye level. It is a little spooky being in a 12 foot long zodiac with 10 other people and being that close to a 40 to 50 foot long animal. On both of our trips at least two people touched a whale, THAT CLOSE!

    In addition to the Pacific side, you spend 3 full days in the Sea of Cortez visiting several Islands and a couple of the small towns along the shore. Here is where you can find the other types of whales. One trip we saw Fin & Humpback Whales and the other we saw Blue and Humpback Whales. Recently they have been seeing some Sperm Whales. You may also get a chance to snorkel with Sea Lions which is a lot of fun, take an underwater camera even if it is a disposable.

    It might be difficult to set up with a tripod to take shots, however Lindblad offers 2 Photo Expeditions this year. We took one of those to Antarctica. My guess is that they group the serious photographers together with a guide and go slower and allow more time to set up and take photos. I have traveled with the fellow who runs their Photo Expeditions (and leads most of them) 4 times. If you have specific questions I can put you in touch with him.
    The Sea Lion is a very nice and comfortable ship. It is only 152 feet long and shallow draft. The cabins are quite compact, but you do not spend time there except to sleep and change clothes.
    The trip is 8 days and 7 nights with a charter flight from Los Angeles to La Paz. The cost is about $3500 to $4700 per person including the air from LA.

    Here are some old photos from our two trips. The 1992 shots were taken with a Nikon P&S camera with a two position lens (about 35 and 55mm). The 1997 photos were taken with a Nikon 6006 with a 28-70 or a 75-300 lens. All these photos are from 4x6 prints rephotographed with a Nikon 995 camera:
    Here from 1992 is a Grey Whale coming straight at our zodiac fast, maybe 15 feet away. She dove as she neared and slid right under the zodiac. There was an ardent male following here and she was using our zodiac as a "pick". Soon after they mated right in front of us.
    21861743-L.

    That is the edge of the zodiac in the lower right corner!:
    23039145-L.

    23038572-L.

    Here from 1997 is a Blue Whale in the Sea of Cortez:
    23038022-L.

    A spyhopping Grey Whale in Magdalena Bay from 1997:
    23037868-L.

    A Sea Lion in the Sea of Cortez from 1992:
    23037531-L.

    Swimming with the Sea lions:
    23038686-L.

    The Desert:
    23038944-L-1.

    If you have any questions, be sure to ask.
    Bob & Nan
     
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