Mexico/Baja Sur: Loreto Bay NP – Blue Whales
Here’s a wildlife watching experience that probably will go down in my top ten (and it’s already quite a list to begin with) – watching blue whales in The Sea of Cortez. Absolutely unbelievable! We spend about 3 hours just watching two separate blue whales swim and deep dive, with a spectacular show of tail flukes. The dive usually lasts about 5-8 minutes before the whale resurfaces and starts swimming near the surface again. Blue whales are the largest animals on earth, reaching length of 30 meters (98 feet) and weight of 190 tons! About 10-30 blue whales enter the Sea of Cortez each year and it’s one of the beat places in the world to see and interact with them. They were hunted to almost extinction during the whaling day and are critically endangered now. Seeing them is absolutely surreal – the massive metallic-grey-black machine that dives right in front of your tiny boat displaying the triangular tail. Blue whales are usually solitary, so far this year there has been 12 of them spotted in the Sea of Cortez. Blue whales feed exclusively on krill. A single adult blue whale can consume 36,000kg of krill a day. With each mouthful, the whale can hold up to 5,000 kg of water and plankton. Blue whales usually swim at 8kmh and can reach speeds of over 30kmh at full speed. They can dive to depths of approximately 500m. Female blue whales breed only once every 3 years and gestation is between 11-12 months. A baby blue whale emerges weighing up to 2700kg and up to 8m long. Another interesting blue whale fact is that they are some of the loudest animals on earth, although the low frequency sound can’t be heard by humans. It’s estimated that only 10-20 thousand blue whales remain in all the global oceans today.