Ask a Mexican

Whale season is in full swing; how do you like to approach whales? Do you think tourist companies take advantage of the activity? Have you ever bought a tour? What is your experience? What do you think about the approach some companies have?

Daniel Ocegueda, 22, fisherman.

I have never had the need to book a tour because I have been blessed to see whales at work. I have seen some folks chase them and I don’t agree with that. When they come to Cabo, they are delivering their babies and I think we should be a little more empathetic; human mothers don’t like it when people get too close to their babies, neither do momma whales. I also notice that tour prices for sunset cruises go crazy high during the season, and some of them even guarantee whale watching which I think is unethical. I think a good way to enjoy whales is by staying at the beach with a nice cold beer, be patient and wait for them to breach.

Catalina Cortez, 39, house manager.

When I first moved to this beautiful place, I booked a tour to watch them up close. It was simply magical and overwhelming. I wouldn’t book another tour though, as the captain kept looking for them and I felt like we were bothering the big mommas, but we never got too close. I have seen some people that have pictures kissing them, I would love to get that close but I am not sure how stressful that is for them. I think tourist companies are exploiting the attraction but it’s part of the local economy, so I think it’s not too bad.

Ricardo Torres, 29, barman.

I love whale watching and I wish there was better regulations here, but I have visited small towns where the boats are far smaller and the crew is very knowledgeable, they know when to get close and when to stay away. Some of them even teach you how to spot them from far away, and I think that is the only right way to approach them. I was lucky enough to have a momma play with her baby in Puerto San Carlos, but the journey was long and tiring and a one-day thing. The Baja high season sort of depends on whales, so I don’t condemn the tourist companies but I think they should be more conscious and less greedy. I would hate to know the whales avoid the Baja if they feel like they are no longer safe here.

Luis Cruz, 47, tour guide.

I have been on whale watching tours thanks to my work and I love it. We try to be very respectful and understand that they are wild animals, gentle but unpredictable. A couple of years ago, another company was involved in a pretty bad accident and it was covered up, even after that, some captains still harass whales just to make more money in tips, and I think that is very unethical. I think tourists have the responsibility to book a tour that ensures safety and understands the need for a healthy distance from the gentle giants.

Dalia Aceves, 49, pharmacist.

I love whale watching and I have gone a couple of times. I arrived in Cabo when I was 19 and my first experience was in a tiny panga that I took with a couple of friends here in the Medano. We got to pet them, kiss them, it all happened in a very nice way, they approached us; we did not chase them. It makes me sad that some people go after them and scare them, but I understand they are just trying to make a living. Every time one of my family members comes to visit, I try to take them to have a similar experience in Lopez Mateos, and it is always happy and respectful. I think all the big commercial tour companies could make an effort and have more ethical approaches because Cabo is what it is thanks to the whales.

Placido Ruiz, 40, teacher.

I have never been on a whale tour and I will never be on one. I think whales should be left alone and I would rather watch them from a restaurant, and not be a part of the problem. You see, it’s a basic idea: if no one goes on those horrible tours, they will stop. Supply and demand. My students have very cool stories when they have gone with their family and I don’t tell them my personal opinion, but we are killing the ocean with all the fuel, and in whale season, there are more boats on the ocean than in other seasons. There are not even half of the whales now than there were ten years ago. I remember I could see at least one breaching a day, and now it’s not as common.