Sunday, March 27, 2016

Baja California - Laguna San Ignacio

On our way to Laguna San Ignacio

WARNING: For the first time in my blog, I included two videos. I don't know the effect it will have on loading these pages. You may have to be patient.

Diane and I met Tom and Cathy in San Diego. We left our truck at Cathy's family and drove off in Tom's Ford F150. Next stop - Tijuana and then the town of San Ignacio.

We drove through Ensenada, other small Mexican villages, vineyards, and then the desert. Some of the desert areas were magnificent, with huge, age old cardon cactus among magnificent rock formations. At times, it looked as if the plants and the rocks had been painstakingly placed there. But we knew well, it was all nature's work.

We spent the night at the Baja Cacus Motel in El Rosario, a very nice place with an adjacent restaurant that serves up great margaritas and good food. We got up early the next day and headed for San Ignacio.

After a long day's drive we arrived in the village of San Ignacio. At the town's square, Carol was waiting there for us. She had taken the evening bus from Tijuanana and arrived in San Ignacio a little earlier in the morning.

Across from the square was the 17th century - San Ignacio Mission.

It was an another hour long drive from San Ignacio to get to the Kuyima campground adjacent to San Ignacio bay. But soon we were settled into our tents and camping spot.

We had a whale watching trip set up for the following morning. After coffee and a hearty breakfast of oatmeal, we were briefed on what to expect on our two hour long panga boat trip.

On our first day out, we thought we'd be lucky to see whales near the boat. Little did we know that we'd be so close to them that we could touch them.

For each of the three days we went out on the panga boats to see the whales and their calves. Often we would see that the mother would push their baby calf up towards the panga.

We took walks along the beach areas and found old whale bones and lots of shells. Also just outside of our campground were ospreys. At times, we would see them fly by with a fish in the beaks on their way back to their nest where their babies were awaiting a nurturing meal.

Here's a video clip of our camp ground. It was particularly windy at night and in the morning.  

On our other boat excursions we got to see and touch whales each time. To have these huge sea mamals rubbing up against the boat or pushing their baby up towards our boat was an unbelievably wondrous moment.  

Our evening dinners were at the camp ground's restaurant, a clean and friendly place about 50 yards from our campsite. They had coffee ready for us in the early mornings and cool beers ready for us in the evenings. What more could you ask for?

A whale of a good time....

On one of the evenings, there was a presentation by a group of academics from Mexico and the U.S. on the whaling history of the area. They spoke of population growth trends, breeding grounds, migration patterns and how they track these beautiful animals. 

And then it was time for us to leave. After packing up our tents and gear we drove out towards San Ignacio. We encountered beautiful salt beds. And although there had been a fire in the town a couple of days before, the oasis of San Ignacio, palm trees and all, still looked like a Hollywood movie set. 

We drove for several hours to Catavina, part of an extensive Mexican park reserve where we spent the night before heading to the border.

After that evening, it was another day's drive to Ensenada and Tijuana, where it took us 1 1/2 hours of sitting in traffic, to get through the border crossing. But we were entertained during our wait.....