As you may know, Blue Whales are the largest creature ever to exist on this planet! They weigh 170 tones, and can grow to be 30 m (98 feet) long. These endangered giants frequent the Sea of Cortez between January and March, feeding on the abundant krill. They frequent an area between three islands off of Loreto aptly named “The Blue Whale Triangle” which is a deep underwater trench, where there is an up welling of nutrient rich cold water. This area is not only a Mexican Marine Park, but a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve to protect the feeding and mating grounds of these rare animals.
The Blue Whales are impressive creatures to share the water with, either in Kayaks or Whale Watching Boats. The spouts from these animals surfacing and exhaling can be seen for miles. They have the lung capacity of 5000 liters, and often feed at depths of 100 m below the surface, when they come up to breathe it is an explosion of pressurized air that shoots 9 meters up. The heart of a Blue Whale is about the same size as a VW Beetle, and a baby human could crawl through their aorta with room to spare! These animals are heavier than the largest know dinosaur, and were abundant in all oceans on the earth in the beginning of the twentieth century before the whaling industry decimated their populations. Most of the time these whales are feeding in the open pacific ocean, but once a year a segment of their population come into the Sea of Cortez to feed and mate from January through March. National Geographic specials such a ‘blue planet’ which feature the Blue Whale was filmed in the Sea of Cortez, as this is the easiest location to view and observe these reclusive creatures.
During the feeding season in Baja, we often observe the Blue Whales feeding in the distance, and sometimes up close and personal while we are kayaking. We also see Fin Whales, which don’t get as much hype as the Blue, but are equally impressive! Fin Whales average to be 27 meters in length, 3 meters shorter than the famous Blue. They both share similar feeding behavior, distribution, and only the shape of the blow hole and darker colour of their skin separate them in appearance. We see both of these whales feeding, and I have friends who’ve had the luck to observe these whales mating, imagine seeing a Blue Whale penis! What a sight!
These gentle giants get a lot of attention, as they should, but we also observe Humpback Whales, Grey Whales, Minke Whales, Transient Orca Whales, False Killer Whales, and other Dolphins by the thousand in the area around Loreto. The abundance of plankton and krill create a feeding frenzy for the whole food chain, including the whales, sports fish, and bird life. This is why ‘Whale Season’ of February and March is my favorite time of year to visit Loreto, and our most popular time of year for Kayak Tours.