The Eternal Journey

Author:
Marco Jiménez Hiriart

Guerero Negro in Baja

A typical scene in the waters of Pacific Ocean would be quite atypical in other place in the world. It is not uncommon for humpback whales to swim in the shallow waters, offering tourists and locals the chance to experience something truly incredible, just off Mexico's Pacific shores. These intriguing creatures may call the ocean their home, yet they also have plenty of contact with the world above the waves.

Guerrero Negro and Ojo de Liebre LagoonIn Mexico's Pacific shores, a humpback is born in the same waters in which it was conceived eleven months earlier. During the birth the calf has to deal with leaving the comfort of their mother's womb and venture out into the vast ocean. Since the newborn whale doesn't immediately know how to swim, the mother will help it up to the surface for a necessary breath of fresh air. Within half an hour the calf can swim with confidence but always keep within close range of its mother. Swimming by her side it will slowly begin to comprehend the vast world that surrounds it.

Guerrero Negro and Ojo de Liebre LagoonResearch into their evolution proves that their ancestors actually used to live on the land. Humpback whales breathe just like humans yet they are also capable of submerging under water for long periods of time. Deep waters are understandably unchartered territory for humans, making a big part of the humpback whale's existence a mystery. Information about their underwater life comes mostly from whale sightings, oftentimes leading to contradictory information about their habits.

Guerrero Negro and Ojo de Liebre LagoonHumpback whales interact through a mysterious system, which includes the acrobatics they perform, like lunging into the air, or flapping at the surface of the water. It is believed that these mammals are proving their physical power, natural ability and a certain genetic superiority when they breach the water's surface. The fact that they communicate with each other by vocalizing for long periods of time through the water is what perhaps most intrigues humans.

Guerrero Negro and Ojo de Liebre LagoonThe humpback's habitat extends throughout the whole ocean. Their population count is reasonably stable and they tend to divide their time in different areas depending on the season. During the winter they live in warm waters and migrate at the beginning of spring in search of food. The ones that live in the northern hemisphere travel towards arctic waters, while those in the south head towards Antarctica. Year after year they embark on the same journey. In the summer, while feeding off the melting frozen waters, they have been seen in packs of ten or more whales. These packs work together to obtain food by forming bubbles to trap krill, plankton and a variety of small fish which make up their daily diet.

Whales WatchingHumpbacks that reside in the Northern Pacific, close to the Bering Strait, swim through the coastal waters in the direction of warmer waters, which also happen to be saltier. These waters are more than ideal for mating, birthing and raising the new offspring. The migration is carried out through different stages. Pregnant humpbacks or mother whales with young calf tend to stay for longer periods of time in the feeding zone. During the journey the adult whales rarely feed themselves and survive off a thick layer of fat below the skin. The offspring usually feed off their mother's milk in order to grow strong.

In Mexico's Pacific shores, a humpback is born in the same waters in which it was conceived eleven months earlier. During the birth the calf has to deal with leaving the comfort of their mother's womb and venture out into the vast ocean. Since the newborn whale doesn't immediately know how to swim, the mother will help it up to the surface for a necessary breath of fresh air. Within half an hour the calf can swim with confidence but always keep within close range of its mother. Swimming by her side it will slowly begin to comprehend the vast world that surrounds it.