Saturday, February 21, 2009

Whale Watching

The panic is beginning to set in - we have less than 2-weeks in Bucerias before we have to start our trek back north! We are shocked at how quickly time has flown, and are beginning to dread the idea of leaving this place. We have enjoyed it immensely. This region of Mexico is great in all respects - perfect weather, great beaches, wonderful restaurants, laid-back atmosphere ... what's not to like?

Realizing that time was rapidly running out on us, last week we compiled a list of 'must-do's or must-see' activities that we would like to accomplish. On the top of that list was whale watching.

Now, we've been watching the whales from afar while sitting at the beach. If you take the time to scan the horizon, you are more often than not rewarded by the sighting of a whale spouting. We've had a few good shows - whales slapping their tales in the water and even a bit of breaching. However, this is a good distance away. We needed to go on a whale watching tour so we could get a closer look at the humpbacks.
We had heard that you could charter a panga at Punta de Mita, which is located north of Bucerias along the point. We took a quick run down there on Friday and booked a tour for the following day.
We met our 'captain' - Miguel - at about 9:15 a.m., and Judy, Joel, Greg, Amanda, Terry and myself headed out to the open sea in our little panga. The swells were high, and we were reminded just how tiny we were in that great big ocean and with that little boat!
The promise from Miguel was 'if you don't see a whale - you don't pay', so the pressure was on. This is the tail-end of the whale watching season. According to Miguel, in another week or two, the whales would all be gone.
We rounded a set of small islands off the point, when Miguel spotted a mother and baby humpback. It was a pretty amazing experience - we pulled in very close - and watched them for quite a while. Miguel figured the baby whale was about the size of our boat, and the mother was probably 30-40 feet long. We later realized there was another whale close-by, but he didn't surface. Apparently it was a male keeping a protective eye on the female and baby.
After that, the boys tried a little snorkelling in a sheltered area off one of the islands. There were plenty of fish, but the water was too murky to appreciate them. Miguel then showed us a protected island that is home to the 'Blue Footed Booby'. Apparently there are only two places on earth where these birds call home - here, and in the Galapogas Islands. And they truly have blue feet!
With the tour over, Miguel headed back and we experienced a roller-coaster ride back to shore.
Great day!

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