Encounters with grey & humpback whales

January 2023

We extended our Bahia Concepcion fairytale and moved 15 kilometers south to park on El Requeson beach. We stayed there for three nights, enjoying some hiking, paddling and we also made some new friends.

We struck up a conversation with our neighbours who were from Vernon, British Colombia. Bob and Linda had been visiting this region for more than 20 years and we had nice conversations with them. They were kind enough to lend us their two SUP boards.

The water within the lagoon is so shallow that it never reaches ones waist and theoretically one could easily walk in it. Yet this is discouraged as there are many stingrays living on the bottom of the sea. They have a nasty habit of burrowing into the sand, making them hard to see. If one accidentally steps on it, getting stung one will be in pain for several days. A SUP board therefore is the perfect means of transport here, while taking in the natural beauty.


Along the rocky shore, we saw many fish that were unsettled by our shadows and took cover among the rocks. Before long after that, we saw the first stingrays lying motionless in the sand. Close to the mangrove, a number of larger rays, with a wingspan of more than a meter, were hanging out! As soon as you got close to them, these big guys shot away at a speed faster than light, leaving behind a big ‘cloud of dust’ of sand. The story got even better as two giant turtles swam underneath our boards and we couldn’t believe our luck.


We were invited by Bob and Linda to join them for shells for dinner in the evening. Bob explained to us that there were two types of clams on the menu tonight, butter clams and the slightly larger chocolate clams. We dipped them in a little garlic oil and tabasco and popped them into our mouths. How wonderful that our dinner can be found just in front of us on the seafloor. While enjoying the shells, Linda told us that tomorrow was “Taco Tuesday” at the restaurant just down the road. They were going to take their boat there and asked us if we wanted to come along? We were looking forward to it!

Next morning we did some hiking on the little island. Around 11 o’clock we then left by boat together with Bob and Linda. After 10 minutes, we washed up on the little beach near the restaurant. We chose a table overlooking the water and ordered a couple of different tacos. We also had internet here for a while which led us to find out that Thomas and Sima were already in Mulege, only 40 kilometers away. We would hold a place for them for next night.

After two hours, we decided to head back and as we launched the boat again, Bob said that they regularly see dolphins swimming close to the the boat. As if Bob could see into the future, just before we had to turn right towards El Requeson, we saw a large pod of dolphins. At full speed we now skimmed across the water to attract the attention of these mammals. When we had approached them at 50 meters, the first dolphins came alongside. They first swam to our left, then dived under the boat to continue swimming on the right. Because the water is so clear, we could see them really well. We think that they had as much fun as we had.


On our return, we went in search of our own dinner. Barefoot, we walked along the surf in search of butter clams and ‘chocolate ones’. Within half an hour, we had already found so many shells that should be enough for at least two suppers. By now, the wind had started to blow a little which provided some cooling. When Thomas and Sima had arrived, we moved our chairs outside and over a beer and a glass of wine we had plenty to talk about.

We said goodbye to Bob and Linda and also temporarily to Thomas and Sima and headed for Loreto, which was 90 kilometers further south. We slept one night in the car park of hotel El Moro in the middle of the small town. We both liked the idea of spending the night alone in nature again. We decided to drive towards San Javier in the hinterland of Loreto. Here is located one of the most beautiful Jesuit churches in Baja California. The 40-kilometer road between Loreto and San Javier snaked through cacti, palm trees and mountains. We drove through many riverbeds where surprisingly plenty of water flowed. We had not seen the combination of palm trees and mountains before.

Lunch break on our way to San Javier

The tarmac ended and we had reached San Javier. A beautifully restored main street with small bars and restaurants on either side eventually led to the church at the head of the street. We ate a quesadilla to satisfy our hearty appetite. We agreed that this might be the most beautiful church in the Baja. The thick walls could do with another lick of paint, but perhaps this is what gave it its charm. We spent the night near the mision along a small river and had a nice chat with fellow Dutch travellers Youri, Jimmy and their dog “Bear”.

Before driving back to Loreto, we thought it would be a good idea to explore the nature here on foot. Mexico does not have an extensive network of hiking trails like we know in Europe or America. But there are plenty of opportunities to disappear into nature. Along the way, we saw birds in the most beautiful colours that were obviously also keeping close to the river. By now it was starting to get hot enough that we were glad to be back at the car after two hours.

We then spent the afternoon in touristy Loreto, where there are many restaurants and bars along the main street. Loreto has been awarded the Mexican designation ‘Pueblo Magico’, or magical village. A certificate for particularly beautiful villages or towns in Mexico worth seeing. We had a delicious cup of coffee in Plaza Benito Juarez.

We drove further south and once again traversed the peninsula from the Gulf coast to the Pacific coast. Our goal for today was Puerto San Carlos where we would hopefully be offered another opportunity to spot whales. 

We decided to rent a boat with German travellers Harald and Rita the next day and go in search of grey whales and humpback whales. We opted for a tour at “Friendly Whale” where also Jordi from Barcelona joined us and was kind enough to also translate captain Omar’s Spanish explanations.

The boat cruise through the lagune to the ocean took 45 minutes. On the way to the Pacific, we sailed past a sandbank where thousands of pelicans and cormorants had found a spot in the sun. We had never seen so many birds gathered together before and were therefore impressed by this extraordinary sight. The waves got a lot bigger and the water wilder after we passed the lagoon exit. We all looked intently across the water surface in search of whales, which we then spotted after some patience. Captain Omar deftly steered us in the direction of these imposing animals, enabling us to see them several times up close.

After lunch, we left Puerto San Carlos and made our way to La Paz. As the 270 kilometer would be too much for today, we looked for an overnight spot somewhere halfway along the highway in the desert. Together with Rita and Harald, we enjoyed the afternoon and the setting sun. After dinner, we played a few rounds of Yazee in their motorhome. It became a pleasant evening.

The next morning, we parted ways again for the time being. Harald and Rita drove to La Paz, our destination for the day was Todos Santos on the Pacific coast. We reached the small town around 4 pm, where we first filled up on fresh water.


At Playa San Pedrito we joined Andrea and Matze from Switzerland again, whom we had met in California for the first time. We also got to know Tobi and Sarah from Bavaria. We were immediately invited to the sunset cocktail and together with Niel and Viole from Oregon we sat on the beach, enjoying a Pina Colada and watching the rather large waves and the setting sun.


On a long walk on the beach the next day, we marvelled at the luxurious villas of the ‘gringos’ as well as the many surfers, but especially the humpback whales in the sea. There really seemed to be quite a few, the blowing of several animals could be seen again and again. Suddenly one of the whales jumped out of the water, not once but five times in a row. That was really fascinating, both of us had never seen this before. Today, a margerita was mixed for everyone and again we sat together on the beach while the pack of dogs raged around us and the sun slowly disappeared into the sea. The campfire was not to be missed either, and so a relaxed day came to an end.

Todos Santos is a small touristy, but still very pleasant place and a pueblo magico as well. From the plaza, the interesting area is limited to two streets full of boutiques, galleries, restaurants, souvenir shops and small hotels. We strolled along the street and let the flair work its magic on us. We hadn’t really seen many beautiful places on the Baja yet. In a barbershop, I asked about the price of a haircut. After 8 months and a single self-attempt with mediocre results, it was about time again. I got an appointment at 1 pm, so we had plenty of time before then.

We used this time for lunch at the taco stand and once again enjoyed delicious fish and prawn tacos. I had just garnished my tacos with the usual onion-tomato mix, avocado cream and salsa, when the cook mentioned that the mix was “muy picante”! Unfortunately, this warning came a little too late and the salsa burned on my lips. Nevertheless, the tacos were delicious.

Afterwards, I returned to the hair salon and confidently placed myself in the hands of the Mexican lady. “Shampoo” was the first question after she had examined my hair more closely. “Si, por favor” was the answer, but the shampoo was not included in the price. Anyway, after 20 minutes everything was done and I left the shop satisfied. Back at Playa San Pedrito, we took the camping chairs to the beach and enjoyed more than an hour watching the many humpback whales play at some distance. There were so many of them, all over the blow, tail flukes alternating with side flukes, jumping in the air. It was simply wonderful and we couldn’t get enough.


Slowly the sun sank back into the sea and we enjoyed the sunset together with Niel and Viole, listening to their exciting life story. These encounters with other travellers and interesting people are what enrich our own journey so immensely.

Eddy and Romy van Es © 2020, infected.nl. All Rights Reserved.

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