What a treat! Usually, they don't come this close, but these whale watchers were very lucky and got much more than they bargained for.
Drifting steadily along in their humble panga boat in turquoise blue San Ignacio Lagoon, off Mexico's Baja Peninsula, the four people aboard got to have a very close-encounter with a mother gray whale and her calf.
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Travel and Leisure reported that the moment where the mom lifted her nose out of the water to 'greet' the four people on the boat was captured by adventure photographer, Erik Jones. It is awe-inspiring.
Erik says, "This is a popular birthing location for gray whales, and we were treated with an amazing spectacle of life as the mothers would bring their calves up to the surface to greet you. From February - April they're nursing in the bay and love to hang out with tourists. Why these amazing creatures should choose to interact with humans, that for century's had tried to wipe them out is beyond me.
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"There are whales old enough in the bay that have been here since the whaling operations ceased over 50 years ago. For a 45 - 50 foot female to bring her calf up to your boat and encourage it to be scratched and rubbed was a truly memorable and humbling experience that we'll never forget.Once they leave the nursery bay they'll head north up to the Bering Strait to feed. It's a perilous adventure for the calves, as predators like orca whales and white sharks can target them for food. There has also been a decline in calving with lower numbers of babies being recorded."
See it here:
Last year, a similar incredible scene was captured off the coast of New Zealand. A woman, who at first thought she was accompanied by dolphins, swam with three killer whales. It's a tense, yet beautiful moment:
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