The Baja California Whale Watching and Wine Tasting trip to Guerrero Negro was a huge success. 31 Walkabouters’ and their friends spent a wonderful 7 days touring Baja California. Guerrero Negro is right on the border between Baja California and Baja California Sur.
The first day was pretty well consumed riding on a bus from San Diego to San Quintin where the group spent the night in a comfortable beach front motel. The second day finishes the trip to Guerrero Negro and the Halfway Motel aptly named as it is approximately half way from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas.
Day three was spent on two whale watching expeditions out into Scammon’s Lagoon a world renowned whale watching area. Whale watching is highly regulated in the lagoon by the Mexican government. The number of crafts, the number of guests in each boat and the duration that they can stay out is strictly enforced. The Panga boat drivers must undergo sessional training and cannot chase whales or interfere with their activities. The wonderful part is that whales seem to go between ignoring the Pangas and actually interacting with them in training there calfs so they come right up to the boats. They will dive beneath them, scape across the bottom and continue to do their Whale “thing” without regard for the great pleasure they are providing. Grey whales spend the summer in the arctic and in late fall start their migration down to three lagoon in Baja California. This migration provides a great deal of activity right off the San Diego coast from mid November, southbound and again from March through April, northbound. Scammon lagoon hosts the largest of these migrations with an estimated approximately 1800 whales in the lagoon the week of our trip. Once in the lagoon mothers give birth to a single calf usually in December through January. The next couple of months are used to strengthen and raise their offspring so that they are able to return to the Arctic for the summer. The lagoon provides protection since for some reason Killer Whales do not enter the lagoon so the newborns are protected for the first several months from the Grey Whales major predator. Females without calves also migrate which attracts all males of breeding age. When not watching a mother swimming with her calf the mating provides its own very interesting show as a mating male must be on it’s back and supported by several other males to mate. All this commotion attracts other interested males which can lead to a whole whale of activity. The first day that our group was out the Panga board drivers commented that very seldom do they see the activity that we were privileged to observe. The second day provided one more chance to observe these wonderful creatures up close and personal before we left shortly after noon for the long drive back to Catavina.
Catavina was the beginning of our Wine Tasting and Anniversary Fiesta. Kathy and Don Piller’s 55th Anniversary was on the last day of our trip and since Don was the Walkabout Member who set this trip up he planned with significant assistance from Andiamo, our tour operator, to start a fiesta on Wednesday evening. Margaritas were served to enliven several persons participation in breaking a Pinata. A beautiful cake concluded dinner and this evening’s festivities. The next morning, after an early morning walk through the desert, led by a bunch of local middle school children we were on the road to Ensenada. The Bus stopped for a short break at the Santo Tomas winery which dates back to the mid 1800 and is one of Mexico’s oldest continuously operating wineries. The next two nights were spent in the Las Rosa Hotel right on the beach in North Ensenada. The Fiesta activities continued at each place where we either had excellent wine tasting or delicious meals. Thursday we stopped at Tres Cantos Winery and Mogor Badan Ranch before an unbelievable lunch at the adjacent Deckman’s restaurant and a nice break before dinner. The final day was off to Monte Nubes Winery and Las Nubes Winery with again an incredible lunch at the Laja restaurant with a wine pairing served with each of our 4 courses. A final Champagne toast concluded our fabulous trip to Baja with a evening bus ride back into San Diego. Adios till next time