Guest Contributor: Anne M. Raso, Contributor at Word Up, Teen Dream and other magazines from Enoble Media

Note: Anne couldn’t make it to our LoveLife party last week because she was busy doing something a bit more exotic. I asked if she’d want to do a guest post on it.

I strangely enough first heard about whale watching during an interview with legendary British rocker Ian Hunter during an interview in NYC around 20 or 25 years ago, but never thought I’d personally get to do it. So imagine my thrill when I got to do it for myself during Magdalena Bay, Mexico’s month prime period for gray whale watching in the beautiful blue-green waters there.

You arrive at the piers at Magdalena Bay and have your choice of four or five vendors that rent out life vests and take you on guided small motor boats that seat up to nine people (the price is 900 pesos for the entire boat whether you have one or nine people and that includes the price of your life vests). The folks on the docks suggest windbreakers and sunscreen but we also suggest sunglasses and a change of clothing in case you get wet.

Your escort takes you out on the bay for 90 minutes and you have the chance of seeing anywhere from 0 to 100 whales in that time but they guarantee that if you do not see one of these gentle giants, you will get to return for free. The whales are all Grays, and navigate down from Alaska–a cool 1,000 miles–just in time for February 1! When myself and my fellow travel press junketeers did our whale watching, we were lucky enough to see about 15 whales (most of which were bigger than our boat) and that included lot of mama and baby whales. There was even one large whaleson the top of the water just resting on its side and our guide explained that that’s what they do right after giving birth.

The process is simple: once the boat is out in deep enough water, you basically look for large patches of bubbles at the top of the bay and within moments, a whale will “dive” in a beautiful arch shape. It is kind of hard to capture on film because the process happens quickly and you have to be prepared with your camera ready to go! It’s intimidating that the whales are often larger than the boats, and sometimes they get close enough to splash you!

Whale watching participants have to stay quiet because both talking and the sounds of boat motors drive the whales away. I admit that it is hard to contain one’s enthusiasm once you have seen your first 10-foot-long creature. The 90 minutes goes by fast, needless to say–and when you get off the boat, there are plenty of local vendors sending all sorts of Mexican products on the docks, including their world famous vanilla at a tenth of the US price and colorfully embroidered cotton blouses.

We suggest tying in your whale watching trip with the nearby resort towns of Todos Santos (where you can actually stay in the same Hotel California that the Eagles stayed in the early 70s and which supposedly inspired the name of the megahit song of the same name) or Loreto, which now features the five-star resort La Mision Hotel and the quaint renovated 1962 family-style Hotel Oasis where you can get a room whose doors open right onto a private beach. Both hotels are priced at only $100 to $140 per night for standard double room).

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