The Humpbacks Are Back!

Oh boy! Beat you to the boat! Wait! What boat, we don’t have a boat!
BY: RON LAFFERTY

One of the most popular activities this time of year in Los Cabos is whale watching, with the 40 ton humpbacks being the local favorite, as they frequently preform aerial acts, such as breaching or slapping the surface with their pectoral fins, tails or heads. It is thought the males do this to catch the eye of the females, hoping to get lucky before heading back north for the summer. The females are larger than the males, so if the truth was known, the females probably do the selecting of their mate.

Whales start arriving to the Cabo area, from 6,000 miles north, in mid November with the females giving birth to their calfs during December into January. The mother will nurse her young for seven months and the calf does not stop growing until it reaches about 10 years of age. You can only imagine the hurt this mother endures when giving birth to her 10 to 12 foot baby weighing as much as 1 ton (2,000 lbs.) Ouch!

While the female is busy birthing and nursing her new arrival, the male is singing his heart out trying to attract a female. Geeze, give her a rest, man!

And yes, I said singing. Each group, or population of humpbacks create their own tunes and they all sing the same songs within that group. This singing is also thought to be a form of communication. A little trivia for you: It is believed the largest single pressing of any album of recorded music was not by Michael Jackson or Mariah Carey, but by an animal the size of a bus, the humpback whale. Ten million copies of Songs of the Humpback Whale were inserted into the January 1979 issue of National Geographic, distributed around the world in 25 languages.

So, say you want to go out and get a close up snap shot. When selecting a whale watching company make sure they are licensed and they respect the environment and the animals, and the rules. Yes, there are rules, otherwise it would be worse mayhem out there.

There are the booze, food and cruise type tour on big comfy boats, then there are the tours that are only booze, and barely pretend to look at whales and of course there are the panga boats, those nimble overgrown rowboats with big outboard motors hanging off the back. If the boozing and cruising is not important to you and you are more interested in learning more about the whales and other marine life, a good option would be to do your whale watching with CaboTrek, owned and operated by Philippe Moser, a transplanted Italian who is a naturalist and guide. Philippi is very passionate about protecting and preserving all marine life. He also has professional marine biologists who will be aboard educating you about whales, answering questions, recording the whales singing for you to listen to, and taking photos of your big moment with the whales. 

Philipp and his CaboTrek associates have started a humpback whale photo ID research program in which the humpbacks are identified by the marks and coloration on their tails, (called flukes). It would be like our thumb print which is unique to each individual. Like snowflakes in a snowman, no two are alike. These photos are shared with other researchers and scientists to track and understand the humpbacks that migrate to the Cabo area. An example of this knowleege is, meet CTHW#329. First known as CRC-10724, it has been seen every winter for more than two decades. It survived a killer whale attack that carried away most of his or her left fluke, so it’s easy to spot.

This month Philippi is starting a program for 30 youngsters, with the blessing and support of the local school system, to raise awareness, educate, and to promote healthy conservation towards a healthy marine ecology. By supporting CaboTrek you are helping to expand their efforts in preserving and protecting all of Cabo's marine life. They truly care about the animals and are passionate about protecting them.

And, ne more reason to go out with CaboTrek is they have a drone! Phillip takes a drone out, launches it, and sends it out to find where the whales are. The drone can also take pictures of you in the boat, chasing to where the whales are. 

CaboTrek has 191 TripAdviser reviews and a five star rating. Cost is way less than $100 for a half day of excitement. Offices are in downtown Cabo, in the Tesoro hotel building, kind of behind the fake lighthouse, close to M-O dock. It’s unit A20. Phone 624 174 3160. Facebook.com/cabotrek.  Price is about $80 for adults, 2X1 on Valentine’s Day, 30% discount for locals.