Reef and Rainforest client Mike Croft recently shared a selection of his favourite pictures from his trip to Baja California with us. They travelled down much of Baja’s Pacific coastline as well through the wonderfully rich Sea of Cortez on a 14 night special photo expedition. (All pictures are copyright Mike Croft)
One of the highlights of the cruise is the visit to 30 mile long bay of Bahia Magdalena along Baja’s western coast. This important bay, protected from the Pacific Ocean by the sandy barrier islands of Isla Magdalena and Isla Margarita is famed for its seasonal migration of California Grey Whales that calve here in the winter. This is also an excellent birding location due to the extensive mangroves and swamps along the coastline where up to 40 species of bird including magnificent frigate birds, huge brown pelicans, elegant terns and mangrove warblers.
Another key stop on the trip was the remote sheltered bay of Laguna San Ignacio, where grey whale mothers and calves can be observed at close quarters from Zodiacs. The whales here are unusually friendly and inquisitive towards humans, probably more so than anywhere else in the world. It’s not uncommon for mothers and calves to actively seek out and approach the zodiacs, with the adorable calves’ often playing hide and seek and even wanting to be petted and scratched. This has to be one of the most intimate wildlife experiences in the world.
Further out at sea, huge super pods of long-beaked common dolphins can usually be found following schools of fish often in the company of massive flocks of blue-footed and brown boobies.
Humpback whales also put on a good show including a semi breach. They frequent the tip of the Baja peninsula during their breeding season from December to April but can also be found in almost any part of the Gulf during this time frame.
Playful California sea lions are another favourite. It is even sometimes possible to get in the water with these agile creatures whether through swimming, snorkelling or kayaking.