Greetings from Mexico, fellow blubber lovers!
We're here in Barra de Potosi and off to an incredible start. During our first week on the water, we saw at least 20 whales and got at least 10 new fluke shots for our catalog! For contrast, during our 10-week pilot season, we got 24 flukes in all, so we're all on cloud nine.
Why so many in one week? Well, Arturo, our boat operator, is now a seasoned whale finder. We have three experienced interns scanning the horizon incessantly and logging every whale breath and disturbance in the water they see. And it could be that we have more whales this year (they migrate in cycles).
We held two safe whale watch workshops this week; one in Barra and one in Zihuatanejo. We trained two more guides in Barra de Potosi to work with us when we have two research boats running and taught 18 guides from Zihuatanejo best boat practices. It made my heart sing to hear their whale and dolphin stories, field their questions, and get the opportunity to practice best boat practices around whales with them. A pair of adult whales conveniently showed up and awarded us for our excellent behavior by relaxing next to our boat in a friendly, neighborly way.
We will be on the water five days per week (January 12 - March 20) and hosting 1-2 workshops and events per week in libraries and classrooms throughout the region through March 25th.
For those of you in the area, the luxurious Hotel Las Palmas is hosting a fundraising dinner for our project on Saturday, January 31, 2015 from 3:30 – 6:30 PM. Think Italian guitarist, wood fired pizzas, open bar with fabulous cocktails and a raffle to win a day on the water with us, a night at Las Palmas and a few more juicy prizes. All inclusive event tickets are 500 pesos each. Please RSVP for the event with Carlos at Las Palmas (email@example.com) Raffle tickets are 50 pesos each. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Barbara Erickson at email@example.com to buy tickets or buy them at the event. I can't wait to see you there, tell you more about our exciting start and THANK YOU for your support!
Katherina Audley is the founder and director of the Whales of Guerrero Project, an effort to study and protect humpback whales and support community development on the Pacific coast of Mexico. Fifteen years of marine mammal studies have brought her up close to whales, dolphins, and pinnipeds in Alaska,Washington, Oregon, California, Hawaii, Mexico, Bolivia, Argentina, and New Zealand. Katherina has worked in Bahía de Potosí, Mexico for the past 16 years.