Subject: Gray Whales:Whales Touch Hearts of Baja Vi (fwd)

Mike Williamson (pita@www1.wheelock.edu)
Mon, 24 Nov 1997 11:34:26 -0500 (EST)

From: r.mallon1@genie.com
To: marmam@uvvm.uvic.ca, pita@whale.simmons.edu
Subject: Whales Touch Hearts of Baja Vi

Whales Touch Hearts of Baja Visitors During Valentine's Day

    Whales Gathering for Mating and Calving Season Is Timed for a
Perfect Valentine's Getaway to Baja

    MAGDALENA BAY, Mexico, Nov. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Every year
hundreds of gray whales migrate to Magdalena Bay, in the Baja
Peninsula, for a gathering of new life and new loves around
Valentine's Day and provide a great romantic getaway opportunity
for nature lovers and warm-weather seekers.
    The exquisite beauty of the bay-on-the-Pacific, the
safari-style tent camp and the intimate encounters with the
friendly giants provides a perfect six-day warm-weather escape.
Holiday Expeditions, based in Salt Lake City, Utah, offers four
trips during the whales three-week visit to "Mag Bay" to court
and calve in February and early March.  (Call 1-800-624-6323)  See
www.bikeraft.com.
    "Because of the large population of whales in the area and
the number of humans limited in the bay, up-close sighting and
touching of whales is common," explains Holiday partner John Wood.
"Amazingly these up-to-40-foot-long creatures, which were hunted
to the brink of extinction in the early 1900s, actual seek out
such close encounters with humans."
    Holiday guests are taken from the Baja beach camp to the bay
in motorized eight-person "pongas" or skiffs.  Because this is a
very active time for the whales, the bilingual guides and boat
drivers take special care not to drive on to whales.  Instead,
drivers strategically position the boats so that whales approach
guests to solicit a human caress or smile.
    "While guests may spend up to six hours a day whale watching,
there are plenty of other activities to do on water or land," says
Wood.  "Sea kayaks are available to explore nearby mangroves or
landlubbers can comb the beaches to find natural treasures or bird
watch."
    In the evenings, naturalists present revealing presentations
about whales and Baja's unique eco-systems in the dining tent or
guestscan simply enjoy the relaxing rhythm of lapping bay waters.
    The relaxing environment and warm weather is a welcome break
during the cold winter and gourmet meals, featuring fresh seafood
and fruit, energize the taste buds and round out the perfect ocean
front experience.
    Holiday's whale watching trips for 1998 are scheduled for
February 6, 13, 20 and March 4.  Each trip is limited to 16 people
and costs $1,335, including airfare and transportation from Los
Angeles to La Paz, Mexico.  Holiday also offers Baja sea kayaking
trips, on Baja's Sea of Cortez, from October to April, and a wide
variety of river rafting, mountain biking and combination
rafting/biking trips in Utah, Idaho and Colorado.  For a free
catalog or additional information about trips and schedules, call
1-800-624-6323 or visit Holiday's web site at www.bikeraft.com.