The west coast of Mexico is the winter breeding ground for grey whales. We saw a far amount of them from a distance both on the trip down from San Diego and while in Banderas Bay. But nothing like what we saw on our three day passage from Banderas Bay to Mazatlan. Our first morning started out calm enough with one going past us as we were leaving the bay. A little closer than usual on our port side but nothing to get excited about. As the day progressed we saw a few more, again a little closer than usual. Our second day things got, shall I say, a bit exciting. The first thing we come upon is a field of crab pots. It is almost impossible to see these until you are right upon them. With Gary on the bow and me at the helm we had to pick our way around them slowly so that we didn’t catch any of the lines in the propeller. We had no wind so sailing through was not an option. Once we got by we both settled back down in the cockpit. A short time later Gary yells whale. Sure enough there is not one but two whales on a direct line to cross in front of our bow. We had to put the boat in neutral to stop for the ‘whale crossing’. They passed right in front of the boat a few yards off. They were so ‘slow’ and graceful that Gary had enough time to get the camera and take some pictures.
We had whales cross the bow two more times but the most thrilling (or I should say heart stopping, OMG!) sighting awaited us right before sunset. We often have dolphins swim along side the boat. It seems like they make a game out of running with the boat, leaping in the air and generally look like they are having a lot of fun. They make us laugh and it breaks up the monotony of a long passage. We were traveling along about 5 miles off shore in fairly shallow water about 75 feet. We had enough close encounters of the whale kind to last a while and we thought they would stay out in deeper water. I heard a loud splash to my left and when I looked over I saw a wall of water. Yup, we had two whales who for some reason decided to play about 50 yards from the boat! You can imagine the noise and spray when these massive bodies leap straight up out of the water and then immediately fall back in. It is so quick it takes a second to register what you just saw. Gary tried to get a picture but by the time the shutter went off he got only spray. The show went on for a few minutes before they moved off. We are not sure why in the whole ocean they chose to play next to the boat. The hum of the engine could have intrigued them but they certainly looked like they were having as much fun as the dolphins. I am hoping that was a once in a life time experience. I much prefer to view them at a safer distance!