A little over 3 years ago, my husband, a dear friend and I boarded a small plane with some other folks in Tijuana, Mexico. We were bound for San Ignacio Lagoon, where we would stay in tents on the tip of a peninsula that juts out into the heart of the lagoon. We were there to meet, and perhaps touch, the California gray whales that migrate there from the Bering Sea, where they hang out for the winter and have their babies.
I have always loved whales, their hauntingly beautiful songs, their intelligence, their graceful movements in the water, their gentle and peaceful nature. And I had long wanted to have an up-close and personal encounter with one of these beautiful beings, and look one straight in the eye. We had heard that in the lagoon, there were “friendlies” that would approach boats and interact with humans. So off we went.
Flying over the lagoon before coming in for landing on the small dirt runway was so breathtaking that I forgot to be nervous about being in that little plane.
Here’s a little photo journal of the trip:
Flying over the lagoon before coming in for landing on the small dirt runway was so breathtaking that I forgot to be nervous about flying.
Mother and Baby
The older whales are covered with barnacles and have scars from the teeth marks of sharks.
Our first encounter with a friendly mama and her calf.
Bob touches a whale
At some point in this encounter, as others in the boat were putting their hands on the baby, I looked down, and realized the mother whale was looking straight at me. We stared into each other’s eyes for what seemed like a very long time, mother to mother. I can’t even describe how deeply that moved me–it was a healing, transformational moment.
And this awful and goofy picture is what I looked like after I touched, and was touched, by a whale. I’m smiling, laughing and crying at the same time. On the last day of the trip, the group gives out awards for various things and I got the “Touched by a Whale” award. My favorite award ever…
Our new friend, Richard, gets love from a whale calf.
Our morning walks around the peninsula and trips to the tidepools revealed incredible, stark beauty.
These beauties are actually egg sacs for sea creatures!
Around the tidepools, we turned over a shell that held an octopus, and right then, eggs began to hatch, and oodles of little octopi were born. Stunning!
That trip to San Ignacio, the encounters with the whales, the wonderful people, the incredible wildlife, the breathtaking landscape–all of it was truly transformational, and the experience still lives inside of me. I am ever-grateful for the experience, and to have been touched by a whale!
I highly recommend this trip to anyone who loves whales and adventure: