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After coming back from a whirlwind of trips, I still had the travel bug. When you get in that mindset, it’s contagious.

When I was 18, I took my first international trip to Baja Mexico with my mom to go kayaking down a stretch of the peninsula, ending with some amazing sights of grey whales. Each year, the whales migrate south to give birth in several bays along the coast – this helps keep the baby whales safe from predators in the ocean when they are first born.

In any case, it was perfect timing to head down there this year, and reports had said that there were more whales than they had ever seen before – so naturally it clicked in my mind that I had to go, one way or another.

I posted the idea to a local travel group I belong to on Facebook – the only time I had available was the next day. Within a few hours, we had our group set up. Naturally, as with anything one tries to plan…things come up.

Dan flaked.

Jason attempted to flake out of fear of the weather. (It was predicted that the entire day would be covered in rain.)

Tim persisted and made things happen. Jason ended up being pretty stoked (you’ll find out why later.)

So Jason, Andrew, and I headed out of San Diego come around 5:30 AM. We had about 10 hours of driving time to get down to the location that was best for whale watching, so the majority of the trip was actually spent here:



And most of what we saw consisted of this:



The Xterra handled it like a champ, and we even talked our way out of a speeding ticket after Jason nailed some speed bumps going about 90 mph



We came across this crazy field filled with these little red succulents



There was this random cactus in the middle of the field, so naturally I posed for my next album cover



Right behind it there was a ditch that randomly had a beehive living in it.  Here’s Jason wondering how this all came to be.



Jason Kirby starring in, “Barbed Wire”



While in search of a lighthouse, we came across this abandoned building.  Inside there was all sorts of trash and graffiti, and also there just so happened to be a noose!  Naturally, Jason pretended to hang himself and together we made (check it out to see the photo)



Crashed out in the car.  Andrew woke us up about 5 times with his snoring AKA yelling during the night.  Woke up to a killer sunrise.



Majestic as f*ck.



Thought about burning one of these down the night before.  Would have made a good fire.



We left for the boat station and waited for about 2 hours to go out in a panga (panga is like a small motor/rowboat).  It was pouring rain and none of the guides wanted to go out in the storm.  Jason gave me the evil eye.

After about 10 more minutes, one of the guides was brave enough to venture out with us.  Luck would have it now, we had our own private boat.



Sure enough, saw some whales.



The mother whale is so stoked to get rid of such a large amount of weight that she’ll jump out of the water (spy-hopping) and the baby is so pumped on life they want to come right up and say hello.

(mother & baby on left – stoked mother spy-hopping on right)


After Jason’s incident in Iceland, we all joked about the idea of jumping on a whale and riding it.  After feeling one of the mother whales gently “lift” our boat while underneath it, we decided it probably wasn’t the best idea.

Jason actually managed to pet a baby whale from its nose all the way to the tip of its tail while it swam by him.  After doing this, he gave me a look that said, “okay dude, this was worth it – you were right.  thanks for kicking me in the ass when I tried to flake”



Our stoic boat guide, Felix.


Andrew pumped that he snagged some killer video with his GoPro and McGuyver rigged light stand.



As you may remember me saying earlier – it was raining pretty hard earlier in the morning.  To protect our gear, we put on some trash bags in hopes of the material shielding our gear while we were out on the boat.  While I think an average photographer might be afraid of taking their camera out in the rain, I think we all knew these were the kind of moments our cameras were made for.



Land-ho!  Spent about an hour and a half out in the water – at some points there were whales circling all around us.  Was an awesome experience seeing these huge animals in their natural habitat, and having the ability to get up close and personal with them.





Mission accomplished.  Time to head back to San Diego for work the next day.



On our way out, we came across this crazy red lagoon that we thought might be fun to take photos of.



As we walked further and further, the sight got cooler and cooler.  We didn’t put this together, but the area was home to one of the largest salt-flats in the world.  If you’ve heard about the one in Bolivia, you know these make for some awesome photos.



The salt looks like snow, but it’s actually pretty hard – it hurt your feet to walk on it.



Jason bitched out and decided not to venture out with us past this little river above because he thought he was going to slice his foot open.



Back on the road.  Saw this on the way back.  BUT WHAT DOES THIS MEAN??



Sweet views driving into the night.



And a sky so crystal clear it was as if you could see every single star.



Now THAT was a road trip!



Would love to hear from you in the comments below!

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noelle - hi! i loved your post. ive been wanting to see the whales there for a few years now and i think this winter might be when it can happen! do you have a recommendation for what time of year youve had the best luck seeing whales? im thinking about going down there for a few weeks and going from cabo up baja.

your photos are amazing. youve captured what i wish to see so beautfully. it made me even more excited to get down there!September 13, 2012 – 1:20 pm

Lauren Moaze - looks like a day VERY well spent :) awesome photos.September 11, 2012 – 6:43 pm

Cathy - I’ve been feeling the travel bug for a while now and your images are making it worse! ;) Guess I’ll have to get serious on planning our trip out west this winter. Loved the post!August 16, 2012 – 8:05 am

Katie Botkin - I love the handstand shot… and the end shot.June 26, 2012 – 6:58 pm

Jared - These pictures were great and a HUGE thank you to the STOIC Felix WWHHHooooopp!!!June 19, 2012 – 5:23 pm

Jimmy Rooney - The photos from the trip are awesome! I love the one at the end. Could be a useful photo for Nissan :)June 6, 2012 – 8:30 am

Lisa Jensen - Way fun! love the adventure, and all the commentary. And of course, the whales. So glad you post about this stuff.May 15, 2012 – 8:33 pm

else jensen - Tim, I love your Baja road trip to the whales. As your aunt it brings back memories of our wonderful kayak trip to Magdalena Bay with your mom and my own previous road trips to Baja. As always I love your photos which are very evocative and I love your Blog text/comments. Thank you so much for sharing your enthusiasm for traveling. You are inspiring! Looking forward to going to New Guinea together and snorkeling together!
ElseMay 13, 2012 – 8:00 pm

Karen - Hand stand photo on the salt flat is EPIC! Are salt flats naturally reflective like that? You’re right, it does make for some amazing shots! I found your site through Instagram. I appreciate the “likes” on a couple of my photos! I look forward to your entries as I just recently moved here from the East Coast and am always looking for new places to go :)May 7, 2012 – 10:36 pm

Adam Broderick - I dig your blog as well as your m.o., Tim. I recently relocated to San Diego and am looking for other photogs to shoot with. I also am usually the motivator/planner. If you ever can’t find others to rally, I could be pretty quick to motivate/pack my bags. Check out my site – you’ll find we have similar interests.May 3, 2012 – 11:15 am

Faith Bowyer - This looks amazing. I have no words, except that this entire adventure looked Majestic as F*ck.April 19, 2012 – 9:23 pm

Justin Douglas - Man this trip looks epic!!!!April 18, 2012 – 4:34 pm

ami - hahaha “Majestic as f*ck”. I love these traveling posts that you do. Really, really awesome. Can’t wait to see where you go next.April 18, 2012 – 4:24 pm

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