Day 28: The Whale Sharks of Bahia de Los Angeles
Someday I’d like to come down to Baja during the grey and humpback whale migration. That typically occurs December through March and it’s supposed to be a magical experience. The town of Guerrero Negro is an ideal jumping-off point for these excursions.
I was rather bummed that we’d missed the whales and was lamenting to Chris about our poor timing as we drove into Bahia de Los Angeles. “Say” he said, “isn’t it whale shark season?”
Whoa!! We tried in Belize and Mozambique to go diving with whale sharks; both trips ended with dismal results and nary a shark to be seen. Our track record was lousy.
So after we set up camp for the evening at a sweet little spot on the bay, I walked over to our host to inquire about boat tours. She called her neighbor who had a boat, but he was fully booked, and he informed us that the tours were usually 4-6 hour excursions.
We’re a little wary about taking the kids on all-day boat tours. Chris is prone to sea-sickness and frankly there isn’t much to do for kids on a boat – it’s essentially a confined space that is open to the weather with few activities for restless children.
Discouraged, I headed back to the campsite but stopped to talk to an Italian couple that had been hitch hiking down the peninsula. They had just returned from town where they had been inquiring about boat rentals and were in need of four extra people for their 2 hour boat expedition. It was $150 for six people. Not too shabby! We signed on.
The next morning we hopped aboard our boat and headed off. The tour included stops at small islands in the bay; we saw sea lions, cormorants, and blue footed boobies. And then we turned towards Playa La Gringa, a small bay with calm waters and no other boats to be seen.
And there were the sharks, swimming at the surface, hoovering up schools of fish with their enormous mouths.
Hopping in the water next to giants is always a bit intimidating. There is always that moment of “what the heck am I doing?!” We went swimming with wild bottle nose dolphins in New Zealand and I had the same hesitation.
But despite being the largest fish on earth (and sharks!) these guys had no interest in their fellow swimmers. They were focused solely on their prey.
Open wide!! Sorry little fishies.
Ben and Emma even got in for a little swim, although Ben decided later he’d rather view the giants from the boat. At one point six sharks were in our area; it was a feeding frenzy and we couldn’t tell who was coming or going. It was crazy! And so much fun.
Happy, tired camper.
Our best day in Baja so far.
Our other baja blog posts:
Baja – Ensenada: beaches, puppies, and an animal sanctuary
Photos from Above – drone photography (haven’t lost it yet!)
Cabo Pulmo – Mexico’s only Pacific aquatic national park
Southern Baja – Sun and sand. And sunburns