In a few weeks, whale watching season will come to an end here in San Diego. Gray whales are migrating past our coast on their way to Baja, then back up to the arctic. You can spot them by boat or kayak as they make the annual journey, but what exactly are they doing down there in Mexico?
Scammons Lagoon in Baja California is one of a few places where you can get close enough to count the barnacles on a whale. Winter through early spring is prime time to get an intimate look at gray whales mating and giving birth. Andiamo Tour Mexico takes you into the lagoon on a panga to see it all.
"This is when you see the biggest variety of activity so you'll have the couples who come down to mate," Andiamo Tour Mexico owner Maria Mitrani said.
Traveling south is no easy task. It's one of the longest mammal migrations, at more than 10,000 miles round-trip from the cold Arctic Ocean. But it's no wonder they travel so far - the lagoons of Baja provide warm water and shelter.
A naturalist from Birch Aquarium at Scripps is helping us keep an eye out for a friendly whale. Some believe that if you sing, they will come. At first, nothing happens. As soon as you think the whales have lost interest, they surprise you with a brilliant show by breaching.
"We saw tons of mating, we had a whale breach 10 times in a row which i have never seen before and it was amazing to see a large animal throw its body out of the water," SIO Whale Watching Coordinator Staci Shaut said.
But it doesn't end there. A curious whale decides to move in. Most of us have only seen pictures of this unique connection between humans and whales. Those who experienced it had a hard time putting it into words.
There is still some time left in this whale watching season. Birch Aquarium at Scripps is leading its next excursion March 25-29. We've been told that the end of March is when you tend to see more playfulness with the whale moms and their calves.