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Gray Whale Babies Getting Schooled

*Gray Whale Migration Update:  December 2012

December 20, I received word from my fishermen friends at Laguna Ojo de Liebre that there are now gray whales inside the lagoon.  Gray whales are being sighted off shore of Southern California as they make their way south.   We expect a great whale watching season.  This year our first trip is January 26.  Come join us for a vacation like no other.  Keith Jones, Baja Jones Adventure Travel, author of Gray Whales, My 20 Years of Discovery

by Keith Jones


Gray whale babies - getting schooled in Baja


Gray whale moms have a lot to teach their offspring before they head out into the open ocean on their northward journey.

The first training we notice inside the lagoons is the strengthening exercises the baby is put through as the mother whale swims against the incoming or outgoing tidal flow.  She forces the baby to swim alongside her as he gains strength and stamina.



Next as the baby seemingy plays upon his mother, we notice she will raise up out of the water, causing the baby whale to lay upon her back.  This is more serious training, although to the youngster it is just playtime.  Learning to stay high upon his mother’s back may be the one thing that saves him when a marauding orca pack attacks the mom and baby.  His only place to hide, is upon his mother’s back.

As the season progresses into mid-February a one or two day phenomenon will usually take place. I have written other times about the “baby breaching school,” a time when mother whales seem to show their kid exactly how to jump.  This training takes place at a time when most of the baby whales are strong enough to jump nearly clear of the water.  This training is something rarely seen because it only occurs for a very brief time.


Whales in Guerrero Negro

Another interesting training practice I see inside the lagoon generally takes place from mid-February on. This is when at one location near the bay entrance we see dozens of mother and baby whales surfing in the ocean break along the east shore of the entrance.  The mothers actually swim with the baby against the breaking swells.  This is serious physical conditioning and trains the young whale to swim and breathe in rough water conditions.  I’m convinced those whales swimming in the surf will soon be leaving the lagoon to begin the long swim north.

Want to know where to stay when visiting the Gray Whales in their lagoons?  Read more at is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula, supported by a full-service tour operator staffed by Baja locals (our “Baja Travel Savants”). We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurants, hotels and vacation rentals, as well as guides, maps and articles about events, sports and activities. We provide bilingual customer support, information and sales seven days a week, 365 days a year.  For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at

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About Carla White

Carla White is a freelance writer, public relations/marketing consultant and event organizer based in Ensenada, Baja, California. Carla and her husband Jim moved to Baja in 2003 from the Los Angeles area believing that, thanks to the internet and satellite communications, they could continue working from home while enjoying a richer, more affordable lifestyle. So far, they’ve been right. Connect with Carla Google+

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