Every year, OSU Marine Mammal Institute Director Bruce Mate and his wife Mary Lou lead a natural history trip to San Ignacio Lagoon in Baja California, Mexico. The lagoon is one of only three existing breeding and calving grounds for the entire population of Eastern Pacific gray whales, who migrate up to 5,000 miles along the Pacific coast to reach their destination. In San Ignacio Lagoon, "friendly" whales — usually mother and calf pairs — approach skiffs voluntarily, often allowing humans to touch them. To look into the eye of a whale in San Ignacio is to have a more intimate view of these magnificent animals than is possible anywhere else in the entire world.
Dr. Mate started his whale tagging work in San Ignacio Lagoon in 1979 and knows the area, animals, and people well. During the trip, travelers visit several islands that provide close viewing of elephant seals, California sea lions, and harbor seals. Several species of dolphin can be seen during the ocean transit, often riding the bow wave of the boat. And for birdwatchers, the opportunities to see new species — especially seabirds — are truly exceptional. Each year, the species count averages around 70.
The next Baja Expedition will be February 26 to March 6, 2017. This trip fills early, but we take names for a waiting list, as cancellations do occur. If you have questions, please contact our office at (541) 867-0202. We will be happy to help in any way we can.