Each year, gray whales begin the longest migration in the mammal world traveling thousands of miles from the Arctic Ocean to the warm waters of Baja California. Designated as wildlife refuges, whales have selected these lagoons to court, mate, give birth and care for their young. Curious about their visitors, these enormous creatures provide the unique, unforgettable experience of viewing them at arm’s length, some of the “friendliest” may even let themselves be petted!
Whale behaviors at the lagoons change as the season unfolds. Beginning in mid-January, pregnant mothers arrive to give birth to their young outside the viewing areas, while adult whales offer the spectacular courting and mating behavior. In February the lagoons reach the highest numbers of whales, up to 2,000 at one time! Whales breaching and spy-hopping interrupt the ceaseless spouts that cover the lagoons. Sporadic mating continues to occur and mothers with newborn calves begin to enter the observation areas. Upon the departure of bulls and newly-pregnant whales in the month of March, mother and baby pairs dominate the lagoons. Towards the end of the season, calves gain size and weight and mothers become less protective, granting a greater opportunity for close encounters. Whales remain in the lagoons up to mid April.