Whale Safari!

When was the last time you were on a whale safari?  Never?  Oh my, you must go to San Ignacio Lagoon where the gray whales are friendly, playful and plentiful.  Aquatic wildlife – it’s a thing!

From late January to mid-April, many gray whales and their calves stop in San Ignacio Lagoon before making their way up the Pacific Coast.  For some reason, they are known to be the most playful here, often letting people pet them, sometimes hug them.  Although I was thrilled to pet one last March, I didn’t get to in late January although several people in my group were fortunate enough to pet a female and her calf.  We did see mating whales although no “Pink Floyd” shots like last year.  I lost count of the number of spyhops – it’s thrilling to watch them pop up out of the water close to your panga!  We squealed with abandon at every spyhop, and fluke and at the calves swimming with their mothers.  We laughed at how loud we were which you can’t be on a land wildlife safari.

Más tented camp is located on the north side of the lagoon in the biosphere reserve.  Only Más and its sister division, BajaEx, have camp sites on these stunning, remote salt flats where coyotes roam.  The sunrises, sunsets and heavenly bodies will take your beath away.  The remoteness, beauty and quiet are awe-inspirng – you are filled with that being-in-the-moment of infinite wonder of our vast cosmic experience.

As a seasonal camp, every single item at Más has to be brought in and taken out at the end of the season.  It was a monumental task as the “road” washed out and every single item had to be brought in by panga boat.  Our deluxe, en-suite with double vanity tents are spacious, beautiful and comfortable, by far the most luxurious option at San Ignacio as the camps on the south side have shared toilets and showers.

While other camps take guests out twice a day, Más takes guests out for 3 panga outings similar to safari game drives.  If people want, they have the option to skip a 3rd panga outing and can kayak or paddle-board in the mangrove stream, do a nature walk, go birding or relax in camp.

Our local guides, some multi-generational, grew up with the whales and are passionate about these majestic mammals.  They get as excited as guests do and seem to love what they do. You will learn alot about whale behavior and hear stories.

The Más camp staff is wonderful – helpful, enthusiastic and always smiling while working very hard.  Food is good with surprisingly fresh salads, vegetables, soups, and meat/seafood or vegetarian options.  Other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advance notice.

As there are no flights from Cabo or anywhere into San Ignacio, Más runs charter flights so camps are on a scheduled departure basis.  The flight is quite scenic with desert, mountains and ocean views.

Más Luxury Wilderness Escapes is the luxury, non-dive division of Nautilus Dive.  The definition of luxury is changing from chandeliers and thread counts to more of an experiential interactions.  To some travelers, unique adventures in remote locations with great guides, delicious food have become the new luxury.  Más tented camp is definitely a luxury experience in deluxe glamping tents.

Más Luxury Wilderness Escapes is owned by Nautilus Dive along with BajaEx.

San Ignacio Lagoon is a 3 night / 4 day trip on its own.  However, we also offer a Baja Ultimate Whale Adventure which includes Más and then a 5-hour drive to Loreto on the Sea of Cortez.  It’s a long drive but quite stunning with sea, cliff and desert views.

Once in Loreto we boarded the Nautilus Gallant Lady, a 12-pax comfortable yacht for its 4-night journey to La Paz.  (Our fam group did this in 3-nights)  Our adventure here was the quest for blue whales, the largest mammals, that we did get to see!  We were warned we wouldn’t see them as close up as the gray whales, but they did swim close to our pangas – they are HUGE!  Amusingly, they have the tiniest dorsal fins which is quite curious.  They are only “blue” when you see them under the water. We did see a mother and baby that swam under our panga – our guides almost cried with joy as they hadn’t seen a baby in 2 years.  Thrilling! Note, it’s challenging to get great blue whale photos as they’re so large – you can’t get the head and the teeny dorsal fin in the same frame.

One morning we snorkeled with whale sharks which again was an experience of a lifetime.  We were in the water with 3 or 4 of them while feeding on plankton which made the water murky.  But that’s the best time to be in the water as they don’t swim away while gorging. I used a GoPro for the first time with mixed results.

Another awesome experience was snorkeling with sea lions at Los Islotes, close to Espirtu Santo.  The barking!  The aroma! Gosh, they’re playful and fun to see underwater.  Here I inadvertently filmed on time lapse so could only convert to photos – I really need to take more online GoPro lessons.

At the end of your cruise on either the 12-pax Nautilus Gallant Lady or the 6-pax catamaran, Mango Wind, your guests will be transferred back to Cabo or San Jose.  Which ever boat you choose, you can be assured of an experienced, great crew that is focused on safety and fun along with really good food and spirits.

Some agents did think their clients would not love the 5-hour drive from San Ignacio across Baja to Loreto so know that we can book day trips from La Paz for whale sharks and / or sea lions. https://masluxuryescapes.com

kiki paris / January, 2022

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