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Baja 2016 Blog Week 6


March 20th and the Blue whales are still here! What happened to the fear we all had that in a warm El Nino year the whales would come and leave early? There is just so very much we do not know and understand that for me it makes it all the more intriguing to work on the sea.

We still have many of the regular whales that have been here now for close to 2 months. The Humpbacks have their own regulars this season as do the Blue whales. Probably the strand that remained consistent this past week was the astronomical number of Mobula rays that were present. It became almost a daily show to see them jumping and to also see the huge numbers of patrolling Mobula ray colonies below the surface. Also below the visibility appeared clear to the eye looking down from above, but great lessons were learned upon using entering the water and dropping the underwater video camera down to film the life below. Visibility was actually awful, and most of the week everywhere we went it was well under 10 feet with a green pea soup like silhouette beyond.

We had a rare encounter with a Sabine’s gull X3 who were on their way from the Southern Hemisphere to the very high Arctic where they spend their summers. Never before had I seen these birds here or anywhere before.

But to be honest the stars of the week were 4 different breaching humpbacks, one of whom stopped next to our boat and starred at us for almost a minute. Also it was the 5 orcas who amazed us while hunting among those very Mobula ray patrols mentioned earlier. It is difficult to convey what it is like to watch the greatest predator in the oceans on the prowl from a small boat for over 2 hours. The way they hunted, the moves they made the power they exhibited was a lesson and an experience never to be forgotten by one and all that were fortunate enough to be there. One of the orcas there on March 19th has been confirmed to be one of the same orcas we saw on March 3rd, and this is most interesting as so little is known about the Sea of Cortez orcas. Now a bit more is known about them through our 2 sightings this season. This 2016 season has already been spectacular and on a consistent basis.

The Baja time is winding down now and almost over. We will have a few more days at sea and will write one more weekly blog. Please look for it next week.

Thanks so much for your continued interest in our work, Michael

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