By Eryn On Earth, a Native of Hong Kong who is currently traveling the world. Fifty-five countries and counting!
| Wales and humans have had a bitter history. We’ve slaughtered them to the verge of their extinction, and whaling is still going on today. Despite the tension between us, these Baja whales pushed away the negativity and welcomed tourists to their home.
The grey whales travel to the shallow Baja lagoons from the Arctic, and gather here to give birth and to shield themselves and their new calves away from the many threats in the deep blue. Some may think coming here is invading the whales’ space, but the gentle giants appeared unafraid and overwhelmingly friendly. We would often spot some whales afar, with their large heads above the surface so they can get a good look at us with their little eyes. Sometimes, we would even see them breach magnificently, but they only jump so high to soothe their itchy skin.
On several lucky occasions, the whales would approach our little speed boat. Most of them were protective but friendly mothers, nudging their young whales and encouraging them to come play with us. Others who were alone would just come to use our boat as a back scratcher!
But every whale that we encountered sprayed and soaked us with their powerful breaths. They’d come up to the surface by our little boat and gaze upon us with their sparkling black eyes. I’d then submerge my hand into the freezing waters and feel the whales’ thick blubber meet my palm. I was quite surprised to find small hairs on their skin too! These moments with the gentle giants made me think of the past and present, and how humans could slaughter such beautiful creatures.
About the Author
Having been born and raised in Hong Kong, Eryn has lived in the city for her entire life and has made so many friends she could never forget. Her dad is from Taiwan while her mom is from Thailand, so she speaks English, Chinese and Thai, and is now learning Spanish. Eryn graduated from primary school at 11 years old, but she never the next stage of her education to be spent so differently! Eryn and her parents left the busy city of Hong Kong and embarked on a journey around the world to explore the beautiful places it has to offer. A year later, Eryn and her parents continue to travel the world while she attends online school. At twelve years old, Eryn has already visited more than 55 countries. She also loves to write, take photos and pursue these passions by keeping her memories alive in her blog, Eryn On Earth.
A Few Travel Tips from Kids Do the City:
- The best time to see whales in Baja is from early February to late April
- You can drive or fly to San Ignacio from Ensenada or San Diego, then stay in several temporary eco-camps
- All whale watching is done in pangas, which are 22-foot, locally made boats that accommodate up to 10 people
- San Ignacio is the nearest town from the lagoons, and is 40 miles east
- In San Ignacio, you will find a central square, food and lodging, and whale watching tours can be easily arranged
- There are only three places in the world where gray whales will give birth to babies, and all three are in Baja
- The Mexican government has established strong whale watching guidelines (NOM- 131-SEMARNAT-2010), which regulate sightings to ensure conservation of whale species
- Verify that your whale watching guide has the proper permit given by SEMARNAT (Secretary for the Environment and Natural Resources)
- DO NOT PRESSURE the boat operator to get close to the whale, especially if there are more boats around the whale