I have been learning lately a lot of the beautiful Pandas, Gracious Penguins and Majestic Wolfs, (thanks to my friends for sharing) but now I want to introduce to you , our pride the Mexican whales, because February is the month of the Whale´s Festival In México.If you think your family is traveling a great distance
to go on vacation, consider that every year, thousands of gray whales migrate
to the warm coastal waters of Mexico's Baja Peninsula to mate and give birth.
They migrate from their summer homes in the Bering and Chukchi seas between
Alaska and Siberia, a journey of more than
6,000 miles. While
other types of whales also winter in the Sea of Cortez
The Friendly Whales of Mexico!
In the warm winter waters of Baja California live calves, cows, and
bulls that are in a word large. The calves at birth are almost
3 Meters (
15 feet) long. When full
grown the bulls are about 12M (
feet), and the cows are up to
16 M or about
50 feet and can weigh up to
or 35 tons). To give you an idea as to how big a cow is … next time you see one
of those big cross country buses … it's about the same length as these cows.[if gte vml 1]>/v:formulas/v:shapetype/v:shape<![endif][if !vml][endif]We
are talking about the friendly whales of Baja California, Mexico, the
gray whale (Echrichtius Robustus).
Grays are a mid size whale generally gray in color and are covered with
patches of barnacles and other parasites (whale lice). Patterns of the
barnacles differ from whale to whale and allow positive identification of
individuals. These parasites seem to bother the whales sensitive skins
and whales have been seen apparently trying to rub them off on the sea floor or
against the bottoms of boats or other floating structures. Breaching may also
be an attempt to dislodge these annoyances.Gray whales, in Mexican
waters, are surprisingly warm to the touch. There skin is not a smooth as
that of faster cetaceans, like dolphin, because when the barnacles are finally
scraped off a slight indentation is left in the skin that can be seen as well
as felt. The are also short (
cm or so in length) thick hairs (a few mm) along
the upper lip of some individuals. In place of the dorsal (top) fin are a
number of bumps or knuckles running along the back, starting a bit past half
way and extending towards the tail. The head of the gray whale is also some
what narrow, the head and front flippers are use for directional control, and
the tail is used for propulsion. That tail is about
5 M or
16 feet wide and is said to
generate about 500 horse power.
COWS AND CALVES
The gray whales are born in the shallow lagoons in Baja California. While
in the lagoons the Mothers teach there calves how to swim! YES that’s right.
The mothers must TEACH the calves how to swim, supporting them for the first
few days of life. The calfs instinctually know to breath when there
blowhole is out of the water and close it when it is not. [if gte vml 1]>/v:shape<![endif][if !vml]While in the lagoons the
mothers take the calves to the mouth of the lagoons and have them swim against
the tides when it changes. Mother and calf are also seen swimming laps to help
get the babies in shape for there long swim to summer Arctic feeding grounds.
calves are about
long at birth and weigh about a ton, or perhaps a bit more - that’s about the
size of a small car. The calves drink milk that is 55% fat. The
"normal" milk you have on your kitchen table is less than 4% fat! On
this diet the baby whales gain about
50 Kg (
150 Lbs) a day!
Gray whales are also called "Devil Fish" because of the love
the mothers show for there calves. This sounds strange but let me explain. When
man was hunting the Grays almost to extinction - twice - whalers found for them
a gold mine in the shallow lagoons in Baja California. The whalers would
harpoon the baby whales to get at the large mother whales! The mothers
would "charge" the whalers trying to save her calf and would then be
killed as well. Whalers did hunt the Gray Whales that used to live along the
Asian coast to extinction. Fortunately in 1946 gray whales became legally
protected and have increased to over 21,000 souls. With the number of whales
approaching what is thought to be there historical numbers [along the North
American coast] the whales have been removed from the Endangered Species List,
but are still protected by the International Convention for the Regulation of
Whaling, the International Whaling Commission, and by the Marine Protection Act
taught Grays to befriend mankind. It is awful to kill them! Please stop whaling!!!! A Whale having fun ...
[if gte vml 1]>/v:shape<![endif][if !vml][endif]
...another posing for a picture
[if gte vml 1]>/v:shape<![endif][if !vml][endif]
[if gte vml 1]>/v:shape<![endif][if !vml][endif] Rubbing a
whale. That mouth is about as along as the
5 meters (
Patting a whale on the snout
... look at all the barnacles
Mexico whale watching will
reveal colonies of grey whales that are among the most gentle whale species in
the world. Grey whale mothers are incredibly protective and make especially
attentive caretakers. Tourists are likely to see mothers at play with their
calves, and can be seen carrying their calves on their back when the young
become tired. Grey whale mothers are almost never away from their calves, and
can be seen giving the young whales constant attention. This is good news for
tourists hoping to see a family unit. You will almost never see a calf without
seeing the mother close behind. Grey whales also tend to stick together in a
pack. This means that there is often a good chance you will see multiple whales
on your whale-watching trip. Whales have been migrating from the north to the
Sea of Cortez for thousands and thousands of years, and a Mexico whale watching
tour is the perfect way to be a part of the ancient tradition.Mexican whale watching offers the opportunity to see a high number of
whales including the mightiest creature on earth, the Blue whale. Also
commonly encountered are Humpbacks, Fin, Bryde’s, Pilot and even
Killer whales Orcas, not to mention Bottlenose, Long-beaked and Short-beaked
common dolphin. In the pristine untouched bays and lagoons, you can
snorkel in search of manta rays and turtles while Sea Lions, Elephants
Seals and Fur Seals lounge around the beaches. Wheeling above in the
clear skies are over 130 species of sea and land birds, from Brown
pelicans to the endemic Xantus’ Hummingbird.
Some Gray Whale behavīors.
Gray whales cruise at about 3 or 4 knots, it is this slow speed that
makes it possible for the barnacles and lice to stay attached. A Gray can
maintain a speed of 10 knots for about an hour. Top speed is obtained while
breaching and as been calculated to be over 30 knots. Whales swim by moving
there tails up and down. Fish move from side to side.
Whale spout is really just what happens when the whale exhales. Gray
Whales, like all whales, are mammals and breathe air. When the warm moist air
from inside the whale leaves the blowhole on the top it condenses and you can
see the spout! Baleen whales have a divided blow hole, kind of like your
nose. From the front or rear the spout has a thin heart shaped look to it and
is 2 or
Toothed whales only have a single blow hole. Different species of cetaceans can
be discerned by there spouts more or less.
Spy Hopping is where the whale sticks his (or her) head out above the
water for a look around. Some times this is just a quick up and down motion,
other times the whales may leave there heads above the water for extended
times. [if gte vml 1]>/v:shape<![endif][if !vml][endif]In shallow waters
the whales may actually be "standing" with there tail flukes on the
sea floor. Spy hoping may be an aid in navigation, or perhaps the whale just
wants to see something on the surface. Whales see quite well both above water
and below. There eyes contain powerful muscles that change the shape of the
lens to allow it to focus both below and above the surface.
Whales will generally take a few short breaths and then dive deep for a
number of minutes. Grays can stay submerged for over 8 minutes and dive to
Before slipping totally underwater the tail or fluke is shown. [if gte vml 1]>/v:shape<![endif][if !vml][endif]
is where a whale propels much of there body out of the water.Thay can
do this 11 or 12 times in a row. I might be a man whale showing off to the lady
whales, it might be to dislodge lice and barnacles, or it might just be whales
having a good time.[if gte vml 1]>/v:shape<![endif][if !vml][endif]
A video taken in the Whale´s Festival, I hope you like it!!!!!
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