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BAJA CALIFORNIA: THE LAST KINGDOM OF THE WHALES

Monday 8th April - Monday 22nd April 2013

Dani Lopez-Velasco

Magnificent Blue Whales were a feature of the cruise (Dani Lopez-Velasco)

Magnificent Blue Whales were a feature of the cruise (Dani Lopez-Velasco)

Many of this year´s well-travelled tour participants said, after the end of the trip, that the Baja California cruise was definitely one of the ultimate wildlife experiences on Earth. And I can only fully agree with them. There were just too many highlights and heart-touching moments to name them all, but a few are worth mentioning. The time spent with the Gray Whales at Laguna San Ignacio, with the many close encounters experienced, was truly magical. All our Blue Whale, the largest animal ever to roam our planet, sightings, referring to no less than 10 indivuals, were simply amazing, especially the last one, in which a large female with its calve swam around our boat for half an hour. A large pod of fishing False Killer Whales, which thanks to the hydrophone that was laid underwater, could be heard at the same time as we watched them, was both fantastic and unexpected. And of course the breaching Humpback Whales were, as usual, incredible. Plenty of bird specialities were also seen too, including elegant Laysan and Black-footed Albatrosses, thousands of Black-vented Shearwaters, Black and Least Storm Petrels giving very close views, stunning Red-billed Tropicbirds, sheer numbers of Red-necked and Red Phalaropes, endemic Yellow-footed and Heermann´s Gulls and great views of the endemic Craveri´s Murrelet, as well as Scripps´s. During our landings we also saw endemic Xantus´s Hummingbirds, Large-billed Savannah Sparrows and Gray Thrashers, as well as other interesting species like California Gnatcatcher, Plumbeous Vireo, Phainopepla or Canyon Wren. And, during the extension, several exciting endemics, such as Baja Pygmy-Owl, San Lucas Robin or Belding´s Yellowthroat were encountered, together with other scarce species such as Elf Owl or Thick-billed Kingbird. Overall, an exciting combination of both cetaceans and birds, all making for an unforgettable trip.

Humpbacks are always the most playful whales (Alec Gillespie)

Humpbacks are always the most playful whales (Alec Gillespie)