Posts Tagged ‘whale watching’

Exploring Alaska’s Coastal Wilderness

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

Does all of the hot weather we’ve been having make you long for cooler climes? Consider Alaska, where the wildlife stay cool by the rivers, lakes, waterfalls, and icebergs.

Ready to follow whales, bears, sea lions, puffins, bald eagles, and a host of other fascinating animals through their beautiful native habitat? Click here for more information on Exploring Alaska’s Coastal Wilderness, departing in May, 2011.

Click here for information on all of our tours to Alaska, with our next departures beginning in August, 2010.

Where do you go to stay cool in hot weather? Please share!

Photo: Baja California

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009
An Ocean Wave at California Coast   Photo by Vera Smirnoff, Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest

An ocean wave on the California coast. Photo: Vera Smirnoff, Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest

The winter season is fast approaching, and as it gets colder many of us think of somewhere warm and toasty… like Baja California, Mexico. It’s a big blue ocean out there, full of amazing living creatures, and Baja California’s Pacific Coast is one of the premiere whale watching areas in the world.

While we dream of going south to warm weather, gray whales have the same idea and are on the move from the Arctic to warmer waters. As they migrate from their colder feeding grounds, they enter a more sheltered area in the Gulf of California to raise their young calves.

Imagine getting up close and personal with one of the largest animals on our planet, along with snorkeling with sea lions and the variety of exotic fish of this region.

This video from the Smithsonian Channel shows the blue whale, the largest animal on the planet, off the coast of Australia. But you don’t need to go that far away to go whale watching.

Check out our Baja California: Among the Great Whales tour for your own big blue adventure!

What’s your favorite ocean creature?

Video: Whale Watching in Baja California

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

Whale watching is a exhilarating experience for anyone willing to spend a few days on the Sea of Cortez. Whales can be incredibly curious creatures and often glide right up to our small Zodiac boats, checking us out as we take a good look at them as well. Here, watch highlights from our annual Baja whale watching tours and see these whales up close.

Now it’s your turn. Click here for more information on our Baja whale watching experience.

What’s your wildlife adventure of a lifetime? Share with us below.

Dreaming of Baja California

Monday, June 8th, 2009

Jessica Engler has worked on the Smithsonian Journeys marketing team since 2006, editing and reviewing all online tours, managing our monthly e-newsletter, and providing editorial support for the Journeys blog as well as printed publications. A graduate of James Madison University, she has also worked for Shakespeare’s Globe in London and the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts. Here, Jessica shares her reflections on our Among the Great Whales adventure.

Stuck in a cube all day often times looking at fabulous travel images, I often find myself daydreaming of past journeys that I have been on. Two years ago, I joined Smithsonian travelers in balmy, dry Baja for one week in February. From the moment I stepped aboard our expedition ship, the National Geographic Sea Lion, I instantly forgot freezing  Washington.

For the first few days of the journey, we devoted our mornings to observing gray whales. Every year, thousands of gray whales migrate to the protective waters of Bahia Magdalena to breed, give birth, and nurture their vulnerable offspring. So each day, we boarded zodiacs (small inflatable motorized boats that can hold up to 15 people) in search of these fascinating mammals.

Whale watchers get incredibly close to the gray whales while out exploring in a zodiac

Lucky whale watchers meet and greet some friendly gray whales while out exploring in a zodiac off the coast of Baja California.

For three days, we followed the gray whales and watched as they nursed, played, and interacted with each other. The time spent among these majestic animals was truly memorable, but it was our final day of whale watching that I most cherish. That morning we departed as usual with a local driver, a naturalist, and approximately 10 eager passengers, including myself. We cruised for 30 minutes before we sighted a mother and calf pair and slowly approached for a better view. Our driver, well versed in the practice of keeping a non-threatening distance, maneuvered us to a slow idle. (more…)