Having intensively observed 50 shades of grey at Guerrero Negro, hooked us right in. Brain filters set to baleens, people and pictures frequently reinforced that San Ignacio Laguna on the west coast, just down the road from Guerrero Negro, reputed it to be the perfect breeding ground for the mysticeti (a whale without teeth). Little did they know they’d had me at hello. Antonio’s Ecotours boasted rave reports towards encounters in the same vein, as well as enjoying UNESCO World Heritage Site status. Hoping that we’d slam-dunk in the designated opening to encounter ‘Friendly whale syndrome’ again, I donned my helmet and set Pearl to roaring. Raring to get onto the rutted road leading into the laguna, what are we waiting for?
“Thar she blows!” someone cried as puffs of vapour sprayed out from a pair of blowholes. Chins stopped wagging, giving way to the whopping 40-tonne whale breaching. Or so we’d been informed, the day before we arrived at Guerrero Negro. The prospect of encountering a mammal—post their long migration—the length of a semi-trailer truck at 6,000-stone, got me going.
Intense light fell from a vaulted powder-blue sky that offered here and there a cloud so fat and dense-looking, it might have been full of milk. A monied seafront gleamed as much as the ocean. The coastline was lined with an assortment of majestic marine figurines, spotless sidewalks and restaurants with menus on which we couldn’t afford to dine. La Paz reeked of money but didn’t seem unwelcoming although to be fair, there was hardly a soul about. “Oh my gawd, Lisa!” Jason uttered, disbelievingly. “What?” I barked eagerly back. “There’s an osprey! Up there, sat on top of that lamp post.” And so it was, a yellow-eyed raptor known as the sea hawk ready to hunt over the water. Welcome to off-peak Baja California.