Friday, October 31, 2008

Touch of Gray

Spring 2008
In the warm water lagoons of Baja California baby Gray Whales often approach excited whale watchers seemingly to initiate human contact. I am quite sure that this newborn Gray Whale calf has no idea that the human touching its nose is Serge Dedina, author of the book Saving the Gray Whale and one of the early proponents of stopping the plans by Mitsubishi to build a salt mining operation within San Ignacio Lagoon.
In fact calves seem to seek out human touch below as well as above the water.
These encounters often last for many minutes, sometimes even hours, as curious Gray Whales seem to be as interested in humans as we are in whales. That they seem to actually seek out contact is what makes the experience so unique.
I have had the please and privilege to watch this young man grow up in San Ignacio lagoon. I first met Daniel Aguilar when he was a young boy who loved two things: soccer and whales. Now he has followed in his fathers footsteps and is one of the best panga drivers and whale guides in the lagoon!
Gray Whale calves seem to have a fascination with outboard motors as well, often rubbing their rostrums against the propeller or the hull itself.
Here is Antonio Aguilar, one of the first pangeros to embrace interactions with people and Gray Whales showing that these encounters were neither dangerous or aggressive for humans or whales. In the space of only three or four generations we have gone from hunting and killing Gray Whales here in these lagoons to the idea of protecting and saving them. An amazing transition for man and whale both!

Visit http://www.wildlifeimages.netto see more of my photography.

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