Our Baja adventure 2013 had so many incredible moments. On our final day in Baja, it was suggested by our boat captain that we skip our last whale watching session as high winds were making the seas rough. A few of us so deeply yearned for a final goodbye to the whales that we bundled up and ventured out. Our Mexican based outfitter, Mar Y Aventuras is fantastic and agreed to take us out on that windy early morning in Magdalena Bay. As we watched a gray whale repeatedly breach off in the distance, we reflected upon our profound whale encounters in the breeding lagoons of Baja. I think each of us were quietly accepting that a final friendly visit by a California gray whale was unlikely.

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I had just mentioned to my group that it was Jean Peterson’s memorial service and we collectively sent love and light to Jean, her partner Mary and daughter Lucy. Jean yearned to be close to whales. Before she died, Jean gave me the book Grayson, a true story about a young swimmer who encounters a baby gray whale off of southern California.

Moments later, Frieda a California gray whale, a so called “friendly whale”, one that intentionally seeks human contact paid us a final visit. We recognized her by the distinctive scar on her barnacle laden rostrum. Moved beyond words, we watched her leave titling her head upward catching a final glimpse of us. Slowly and with intention she made her way to the only other boat in the vicinity.

As we drove off we watched a group of excited strangers thrilled by a visit from a whale named Freida. Though we will never meet the members of that small vessel, we share a common thread, a sublime encounter that will not be forgotten.

Kim Powell is owner, operator and head naturalist at Blue Water Ventures in Santa Cruz, CA. Each winter she travels to Baja, Mexico leading a 10 day eco-adventure, from desert to sea.

Blue Water Ventures Offers naturalist-led field trips for students and adventurous vacations for adults designed to be relaxing with an educational component. Kim has been organizing single and multiple day excursions to extraordinarily beautiful places since 1985. Find out more at http://www.bluewaterventures.org