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In their winter search for food, while also training their young, every year two types of whales frequently near our shores for a short period of time. Luckily, thanks to a number of whalewatching “cruises”, we often get a chance to enjoy the winter-visiting creatures during their journey through the Sea of Cortez. Deemed as a valuable display of nature by those who have caught a glimpse of the whales, spotting them moves every fiber of one’s being – particularly if you happen to catch one of the large sea mammals breaching or slapping their tails.
Among the various “sea captains” on local tour boats, Captain “whale whisperer” Oscar Preciado of Del Mar Charters details that according to logs and recent history, the whales tend to make their way to this area (or rather close enough for whalewatching tours to go out) around mid-February. He adds these consist of the fin whale, which is the second largest whale in the world, as well as humpback whales, which are the fifth largest.
The fin whale, which can reach up to lengths of over 20 meters, is more frequent in this area for about a month. Curiously, they make their way to the area to feed on the smallest of species, such as plankton. As Spring sets in, they tend to head toward the coastal regions of California and Oregon in search of colder water.
Contrary to how they may appear, whales are skittish creatures. Only when they are with their young and perceive other movements do they use their tails to slap the water.
“Seeing a huge whale breach could appear as if they were waving at those watching, but really its only the males that breach to show off their genes in working to attract females,” Oscar explained.
It’s important to stress all tour boats that offer whalewatching excursions (once they’ve been spotted) follow certain guidelines in helping to protect the whales, such as not getting to close and even more so not letting people touch them, and usually turning off their motors in order to cut down on noise.
So, get ready, we’re expecting whalewatching opportunities to be available shortly. If you haven’t had the chance to see this grand display, it may very well be time to plan on reserving a spot!
Among area tour operators that generally offer whalewatching trips (once “the season” opens):
EcoFun Rentals – sunset cruise, splash cruises, Bird Island, Pinacate tours www.ecofunrentals.com
Rocky Point Fishing Club – Fishing trips, sunset cruises, jet skis, Bird Island, and more. MX 638 383 6525 US. 602 386 69 14 www.rockypointfishingclub.com