Baja Marine Life: Magdalena Bay

Magdalena Bay is located on the southwest coast of the Baja Peninsula and protected by a series of barrier islands. This area is famous for the gray whales which arrive each year for their calving season. The whales make a nine and a half thousand kilometer journey from the food rich waters of Alaska to reach the warm waters of the Pacific where they will mate or give birth to their young. The whales arrive in November of each year and usually depart around March.

Because gray whales can navigate shallow waters Magdalena Bay is one of the few places in the world where they can be observed at close distances. Although they are enormous creatures (20-40 tons) gray whales are gentle and inquisitive. They will sometimes roll, blow and swim around pangas that come to observe them, as curious about their neighbors in the bay as human visitors are about them.

You may get close enough to the whales to see barnacles clinging to their bodies or the hair on the heads of the young calves. Being engaged in a simple act of mutual curiosity with such magnificent creatures is a very moving experience. An opportunity to interact with wild animals in their natural environment like this is extremely rare in other parts of the world. Gray whales were hunted to the brink of extinction in the 19th century but today they are making an encouraging come-back.

Another wildlife success story in the making is the conservation effort concerning Black Sea Turtles. Sea Turtles arrive in Mexico every year to lay their eggs on the beaches. Sadly not only is the journey from their nest to the sea dangerous for the hatchlings but eggs and youngsters have become vulnerable to poaching which has heavily impacted the species. Local people and marine biologists are working to protect these creatures and visitors can assist them in their work. Experience the fascinating life of a marine biologist as you catch, weigh, measure and get to know these creatures, even name them, before releasing them to a safer and more certain future on a service tour in Mexico. Such a level of positive involvement rather than passive observation takes the experience at Magdalena Bay to a new level. Mexico tours involving this level of cultural exchange can be truly inspiring or even life changing experiences.

Many other species of flora and fauna can be seen around the warm waters of the bay such as dolphins, gregarious sea lions, frigate birds and herons. The richness of the marine life can be guessed at by the frequency with which brown diving pelicans make their elegant arcs through the air and plunge into the water to find a fresh snack.

From the Conchalito shell beach to the long stretch of Magdalena Island and sand dollar beach the bay has a lot of natural diversity. After splendid sunsets the heavens are lit up with stars. The same night breezes that will soothe you at the end of the day were felt by the Maya and Aztecs as they, like all of human kind after them, irresistibly found their gaze and imaginations drawn up to the night sky.

Magdalena Bay is an ideal area to explore by kayaking as you craft your own unique Mexico vacation by taking an explorative adventure around the mangrove channels, inlets and lagoons. Hiking over the sand dunes is another favored activity that brings visitors into the heart of the natural landscapes.

The nearby town of Puerto San Carlos is a fishing village and local fishermen are happy to share their tips for sighting and catching various species as well as a little local history and knowledge. Visitors will hear about yellow-fin tuna, wahoo, totuava and striped marlin. Snorkelers may even get to see these species at close range.

The Sea of Cortes on the east coast of the narrow Baja Peninsula is populated by many species of marine life. Sightings of dolphins may be more frequent here and other species of whale such as hump-back, sperm and even orca can be found in the deeper waters.

A perfect combination of adventure and conservation can be experienced in Baja; Mexico travel at it’s finest.