by Marilia Olio, Marine Biologist and guide at Cabo Trek
Whale watching in Cabo San Lucas is one of the most exciting attractions during the winter in Baja California. The activity is focused mostly on humpback whales, but there are many other species in the area such as grey whales, blue whales, bottlenose dolphins, common dolphins and even orcas sometimes.
However, humpback whales steal the show during the whaling season. Humpbacks are known for their frequent acrobatic behavior and their occasional tendency to approach vessels. Male humpback whales sing to attract the female in the winter. In addition, breaching, blowing, spyhopping, fluking and/or slapping head, tail and pectoral fins in the water are behaviors usually sighted every day in our tours.
January and February are good months to spot humpback whales in Cabo, even though this season they were already here since November. Males usually remain in the area for a longer period attempting to obtain repeated mating. Their “aggressive” behavior when competing for females is often witnessed through aerial activities. Females with their calves are also regularly sighted during February and March. Apparently, the 2016/2017 season offered a very “romantic” environment for the whales mating and this season we witnessed many more mother/calf pairs in the area compared to last year.
The whale watching season officially starts on December 15 and ends on April 15. Cabo Trek had been in the water 95% of this time, with 3 trips almost every single day. It is our intention to raise awareness regarding best whale watching practices and to contribute to understanding the dynamics of the Northeastern Pacific humpback whale population in order to improve the conservation plan for humpback whales and the ocean.
We offer educational and comprehensive whale watching tours with marine biologist guides who explain everything about the whales, and also conduct a photo-identification project. Humpback whales are identified as individuals by the underside of their flukes, or tails. The distinct coloration, shape, and scarring pattern of the flukes’ underside are as unique as a human fingerprint, allowing scientists to distinguish individuals using the pictures they have taken of their flukes. We have in our ID catalog almost 1,300 different humpback whales and more than 200 matches in different places in the North Pacific Ocean.
The humpback whale 2017/2018 season is over. By now, the gentle giants are either in their final destination on the coast of California (where most of our matches are from), or on their way to higher latitudes in Canada and Alaska. Enjoy your time in Baja while you are here and be a Cabo Trek guest next season.