Whale season is now well underway in Cabo. And CONANP
have just done the fifth count of the
season in the El Vizcaino whale sanctuary - the world’s most important breeding
ground for gray whales.
So far, a total of 1521 gray whales have been recorded in
the waters of Ojo del Liebre and San Ignacio. Of these, 601 are calves (one was
an albino!) and 920 are adults.
Hard to believe such a healthy increase in the world
population of gray whales, when they were in danger of extinction just a few
Although these numbers are really encouraging, they are
quite a bit less than last year (when Feb had the highest count for 20 years.) But the fluctuation can be explained. Quite
simply, it is due to the effects of "La Niña" and El Niño cycles.
Water temperatures during "La Niña" seasons
tend to be cooler. And the whales tend to travel a bit further south to find
warmer waters to give birth. So, the numbers are a bit lower.
The opposite happens in the El Niño seasons. Water
temperatures tend to be higher, and are perfect for breeding. So, larger number
of whales stop in the waters of Ojo de Liebre and San Ignancio to give birth.
But Jorge Urbán, a professor and researcher at the
Autonomous University of Baja California Sur (UABCS) whose work is supported by
the WWF Foundation, says this fluctuation is nothing to worry about.
He points out that with the general trend of climate
change, seas are getting warmer, so whales will remain further north most of
the time. And the decrease only happens during a colder "La Niña" season,
which occurs once every 3-7 years.
And he highlights the warmer waters in Magdalena Bay, 280
km further south, where the numbers have stayed almost the same.
If you are lucky enough to be in Cabo before the end of
the season, don’t miss seeing the whales. Truly a phenomenal sight. There are
loads of whale watching tours available. But make sure you go with a licensed
Two of our favorites are Cabo Trek, who provide a marine
biologist on every tour to making it especially educational. Or Pisces, for a luxury sunset tour to see the
calves at play with their mums.