Crossing the frontier between north and south Baja, we were expecting immigration checks, agricultural inspection (and the possibility of the confiscation of my perfectly ripened mango). What we received was a bill for the 20 pesos (1USD$) and an agriculture spray so fast we were questioning if it had happened. Just like that the time zone jumped one hour later and my mango survived it too. We pulled into Guerrero Negro with a laundry list of errands; first we had to fill up the water at Pura Freska where it was only 24 pesos for purified water to fill our entire 7 gallon jug AND our shower. Next our propane was also empty, after a quick stop we paid just over 40 Pesos (2$USD) for 5 pounds of propane, enough to last us….plenty of breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Next it was onto the grocery store where we stocked up on coffee, eggs and chorizo (breakfast of champions). After completing our errands we rewarded our selves with some of best fish and shrimp tacos we have had thus far. Coming from a little truck on the corner surrounded by locals we knew right away that we had found the right spot. We sidled up to the counter and gorged on 25 Peso tacos arriving sanitarily on plastic bag wrapped, plastic plates. With supplies stocked and bellies full we headed off to Laguna Ojo Liebre for an opportunity to see some whales.
We were able to sweet talk ourselves into a deal by wrangling up a couple of other campers, 630 Pesos (35$) per person instead of the typical price of 830 Pesos. It is still early in the whale migration season and business appeared to be slow at Laguna de Liebre Campground where we spent the night. Our panguero was at the end of the dock waiting for our group of five, with a little blue boat named Princesa. A pod of dolphins quickly found our wake and danced ahead of Princesa taunting our boat deeper into the lagoon. Beneath the dull roar of the 40 horsepower outboard the echolocation banter is audible and as indiscernible as the rapid-fire Spanish we are assaulted with on the daily. The first mother and calf we encountered in the shallow 5-12 meter deep lagoon was only 3 days old according to our guide, and they are only one of the 60+ pairs that already had arrived in the lagoon so early in the season. By February there could more than a thousand additional calves, nursing and learning how to whale. The females make the journey all the way from the Bering Sea, some 20,000 miles of a journey and the longest known animal migration. The whales can reach up to 36 tons and 70 years old. They come to the lagoons in Baja where the water is shallow and warm, ideal components for extremely high salinity. This combo creates a fantastic location for what happens to be the largest salt works factory in the world. The salinity is beneficial, helping the new calves to stay afloat in their early months of life. The calves nurse in the safety of the lagoon for roughly 7 months before making the big migration back North with their mothers. We had a whale of a time spotting these gentle giants and hope to come back in the future when the season is in full swing.
|Early morning fog layer over the lagoon|
|Osprey nest over top of the lagoon|
|Pangas ready and waiting|
|Mother and Calf|
|They actually have two blowholes and in the right conditions the arc creates a heart|
|Mama's got a lot of barnacles|
|Look at that back|
|Whale of a tail|
|The worlds largest salt works|
|The salt train really dwarfs that normal sized truck|