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“Look, look! Over there! There! Right there! Ooooh, wow!” It was Thursday and I was sitting in a panga on a humpback whale watching excursion with Sayulita Entourage. It was a slightly overcast day, with the sun making an appearance from time to time. There was a gentle breeze in the air and the Punta de Mita bay was flat and calm. Fish were jumping as our captain, Felix, steered our boat out into the bay, and already we could see a whale breaching in the horizon.
Our guide and owner of Sayulita Entourage, Stephane Panetta, explained to me and the other six women that whale watching season begins December 8th and goes through March 23rd. The whales come to the bay to give birth and the area also serves as a breeding ground. While here, the mother whale does not eat at all and loses up to 30% of her body weight. On the other hand, the babies, who are approximately 1 ton and 10 feet long at birth, do eat and grow approximately an inch per day.
As we neared a mother and baby whale, Stephane told us that boats can get as close as 20 meters to the whales. To see these magnificent mammals at such close proximity was truly spectacular. We were so close that we could easily make out the series of knobs on their heads and the tremendous size of these creatures. (Adult whales can get as large as 52 feet and weigh as much as 30 tons.)
We learned that the baby whales have to come up for air every five minutes, while the mothers only have to come up for air every 10 to 13 minutes. When they do come up, they come up three times before disappearing into the ocean again. Even before seeing them appear, we could hear “Whoosh!” as the whales spouted.
The dark greyish skin of the whales looked smooth and sleek. When the sun was shining, the water around the whales took on a turquoise color due to the reflection of the sun.
At one point, three whales, a baby and two adults, came up in unison, as if they were orchestrating a dance. Another time a whale surfaced so close to the panga that Camilla Fuchs with Camilla Fuchs Photography could not capture the image because the whale was simply too close.
This two-hour excursion was one of the most memorable experiences that I have had in Sayulita. The hazy mountains in the distance created a beautiful backdrop as we watched the whales in awe, and took in the gift of seeing these glorious humpback whales.
If you would like to experience this adventure for yourself or one of the other tours offered by this company, contact Sayulita Entourage.