Today we went whale watching. It was an experience of a lifetime.
Earlier this week we talked to Ismael who helped to set up the whole trip. We set out early morning (but not at an ungodly hour…we’re still on vacation after all). We went down to the water to load into the boat. We packed a backpack full of snacks and brought a little cooler full of drinks. As we set out on another gorgeous, sunny, Pacific morning, we could tell it would be a special day.
We passed some large fishing boats on the way out and our guide, fluent in English, gave us a commentary on fishing and the ecosystem that surrounded us. It didn’t take long at all for the excitement to begin; off to the left side of the boat, a pod of dolphins emerged from the water. In what seemed like hours but was probably minutes, we watched as they rose and sank, rose and sank in a primal, choreographed game.
Continuing on our trip, after having sufficiently taken in the dolphin display, we set out to find whales. I felt like a man on a mission – Captain Ahabish but without wanting to hurt anything. A quick note about our guide, he was awesome. His knowledge of the sea life and the history of the area was bar none. He was the best tour guide we’ve ever had. Back to the whale watching…. About a half hour after finding the dolphin pod, we saw some action in the distance. It was a mother and her calf. We approached with caution and kept a safe distance, but we were able to see so much detail on the animals. Humpback whales are such large, misshapen mammals yet so graceful in the water. We cut the motor and just listened as they surfaced and then submerged.
Their blowholes and the waves were the only sounds for about forty minutes. Then, they dove deep and that was the last we saw of the mother and her baby. Not long after the first whale encounter, we saw another whale on the horizon. By the time we caught up, we realized that this was an enormous whale. The guide, in all his wisdom, was amazed as he had never seen anything like it. You see, normally, the humpbacks would breach for a while and then dive deep for a long time, but this whale gave us a 2 hour show. The only reason we left was because we would run out of gas to get home. The display was amazing. The whale would go under for 10 minutes or so then explode out of the water in a dazzling show. At some points, he breached so close to the boat, we could see the barnacles on him (at least I think it was a him). He would slap his fins and roll. I’ve never had an experience like it. As we left him, still playing on the horizon, we waved ‘Bye’ and thanked our guide profusely.
Our whale watching excursion was the highlight of the trip and a life-long memory that seem to be part of daily life here at Villa Estrella. What a wonderful, magical place.
Written By Carl A., Villa Estrella Guest, January 2010