As all of our friends from the US and Canada flee the frigid temperatures up north, so do our humpback friends! It’s whale watching time! From December until early-March, we keep our eye on the horizon to see our giant friends cresting and dancing in the waves, often times breaching in spectacular movie-worthy displays of strength and size.
The number of humpback whales that pass by Manzanillo Bay each year during their 3,000 mile trek is estimated to be at least 1,250 with the numbers growing thanks to conservation efforts. They travel in pods and those fortunate enough to get close to them can hear them singing to each other, leading each other and “discussing” where to rest, when to eat, how close to shore they want to be. The whales travel at an average speed of 3 to 5 miles per hour and during these travel periods do not stop to feed but rather live off of their blubber reserves.
While we often have sightings of these glorious creatures right from our lounge chairs on the beach at La Posada de los Raqueros, we also recommend taking a guided boat tour. Mexico has enacted laws to protect the whales from recreational boats – the unpredictability of the whales can lead to accidental injury of the animals or the separation of a mother from her calf. We can recommend a local tour guide who can safely lead you to areas frequented by traveling whales with hopes of seeing these magnificent animals up close and personal.
There is an exciting new effort beginning in the area to study the local whale migration and use this information to educate fishermen, students, government officials and tourism agencies as to ways to both protect the whales and to encourage an authentic form of eco-tourism. They have begun to study the whales passing through the area and also will be conducting workshops to help train boat operators and others about safe whale watching and fishing practices. You can read more about their efforts on their informative website: Whales of Guerrero.
Photo credit: NOAA Fisheries