Mexico/Baja Sur: Pto Lopez Mateos – Whalewatching
Whales come to the protected channels near Pto Lopez Mateos to give birth and rear their young – it’s a whale nursery and kindergarten! It’s an absolutely amazing experience to slowly cruise among the sleeping or slowly moving whales – every single sighting was a mother and a baby together! Surreal! Breeding and giving birth to young baby whale la the reason for the grey whale 6000 mile southern migration from Alaska – babies are born without a blubber layer and need warmer protected water waters to grow. Female grey whales bear calves about every 2 years and gestation period averages 12 months. Babies weigh 900kg/2000lb at birth and average 5m/15ft long. Baby whales are born tail first and must surface and catch their first breath within 15 seconds. Within 30 minutes, baby whale learn to swim. When born, gray whales are a deep gray color with white to light gray patches but no barnacles, those grow on them later. The calf baby whales nurse for about 6 months with the mother providing up to 200 liters of milk each day, her milk contains 53% fat. Calves gain 30-35 kg a day, rapidly building up blubber for their trip north. The mouth of a newborn gray whale makes up about 90% of the length of its head and about 15% of the length of its entire body (we saw these tadpole looking babies surface right in front of us!). Baby whales don’t suckle like other mammals, instead mothers push out milk into their mouths direct or into the water around them, and baby whales gobble it up through their baleens. Mothers stay near their young to protect, guide and teach baby whales who spend most their time swimming alongside mom. Sometimes mothers push baby whales up in front of whale-watching boats, showing off their young and ecstatic visitors.