If you are fortunate to be visiting Cabo San Lucas in the months of November through March, it’s likely that at some point during your stay you’ll be treated to the sight of schools of Gray whales passing close off shore. Take
an organized boat trip (or charter a private boat) run by experienced
operators with local knowledge and see one of the most amazing spectacles in the natural world: the annual whale migration off the coast of Cabo San Lucas.
If you don't want to take a boat, then
you can still see these majestic animals from the shoreline of
the beaches near Todos Santos and those facing south west near
Cabo San Lucas. Occasionally they have even been known to come into the bay at Medano beach!
There is a huge variety of cetaceans (whale species)
found around Los Cabos, from the Pacific side right round and into the
Sea of Cortez and many can be seen all year, round if you know where to
go and who to go with.
The great thing about whale watching in Cabo is that there is a huge number of the animals in the area in the season so that you have lots of opportunities to observe their natural behaviors.
When a whale jumps it is called a breach and it is possibly the most impressive sight that you could witness. Sometimes with all of its body leaving the water, the whale will shoot up almost vertically and turn in mid air, usually landing on its side or back. Breaching whales produce large splashes upon re-entry into the water, which can be seen from miles away. This is regularly witnessed during the whale watch season in Cabo San Lucas and is the stuff of memories.
Whales will slap the water with different parts of their body, it is thought for a variety of reasons. During a flipper (pectoral) slap, mostly seen in Humpback whales, the whale will lie on its side or back on the surface and repeatedly slap its long fins on the top of the water. It is thought that it may be a female Humpback signaling her interest in mating. Tail slapping consists of the whale forcefully slapping its tail onto the surface of the water, creating a loud cracking sound. The whale hovers at the surface, often belly up, with the tail standing up vertically over the ocean while slapping its tail fluke repeatedly against water. A head slap is performed while the whale is moving forward; it brings its head up out of the water and then forcefully brings it down on the surface making a large splash. This behavior thought to be most associated with males who often inflate their mouths with sea water to look bigger or may even drop their head down onto a competing rival as a show of aggression.
Arching and Fluking
This is seen just before the whale makes a deep descent. The whale will force its back out of the water in order to make use of gravity and perform a more vertical descent, showing its tail on the way down. Sometimes the fluke is curved and sometimes straight, scientists think that the straightened tail fluke suggests the whale is gaining some extra “push” down using the weight of its tail and the effects of gravity to help it. Dives like this mean that the whale can stay down for up to 20 minutes or more. That means you need to go and find another whale to watch!