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Welcome to Whale Nerd Heaven

By Katherina Audley

Greetings friends!

It is hard to believe it, but we are more than halfway through our second season already with only four weeks left to go.

We have 41 beautiful new flukes to add to our catalog of 24 from 2014, bringing us to 65 flukes to work with. It will be incredibly exciting to compare the new flukes with catalogs from British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California, Baja, Banderas Bay, Manzanillo, Oaxaca, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Costa Rica to see where these whales are coming from and going.

We have had esteemed biologists visit us and spend time on the boat and in the village with us. This week, Denise King from the Exploratorium in San Francisco has been roaming the village with a krill net in hand and a microscope in her backpack to show the local kids the hidden world that lies within the ocean, the lagoon and all around them in the village. I wish you could have all been there to hear the gasps and ooooh's of the kids when they saw bugs and plankton writ large. It was a big hit.

One of our superstar interns, Andrea Garcia Chavez, running a workshop with the kids at the elementary school in Barra de Potosi.

The results of our first workshop in the elementary school in Barra de Potosi.

Kids were fascinated when visiting biologist, Denise King, from the Exploratorium, showed them the beauty of the uncharismatic megafauna that surrounds us.

Eighteen boat operators came to our 1st safe whale watch workshop in Zihuatanejo last month. We hope to have another one in early March.

We have seen mother and baby humpback whales in the bay in front of Playa Blanca almost every day this year. Some, we have seen more than once over a period of days or weeks. And three of the calves had significant scars from nets and fishing lines. Although some of the calves appear to be less than two weeks old, we still cannot say that they are being born here, but we can say that they are using this area to rest and nurse and we can say that we need to increase awareness about their presence with shrimp boat operators, commercial and artisanal fishermen.


Fortunately, the communities of Barra de Potosi and Zihuatanejo have been very receptive to learning more about whales and best boat practices around them, from kids to elders, so our work is cut out for us!

We have had one group visit us for an expedition through Oceanic Society so far and a second group from American Cetacean Society is on their way down this Thursday to work with us on a volunteer vacation as we study whales and dolphins and run educational outreach programs in communities near and far. It will be great fun to host them and the village is so pleased to have ecotourists here.

An Invitation to Our Friends in Mexico:
If you are in the area and want to meet me and my fantastic interns and look at our new flukes and other beautiful animals we have seen out there we have a bunch of events coming up for you!

  1. We are presenting a slide show of some of our pictures, videos and some really cute kid videos on February 27 in Barra de Potosi at the kindergarten at 8 PM.
  2. We will be at the Eco-tianguis in Zihuatanejo on Saturday, March 7 and Saturday, March 14 from 9:30 – 11:30.
  3. I will be at Cafe Sol in Troncones at 1 PM on March 8 to give a talk about what we have found out so far and next year's plan. Time and exact location have not been confirmed yet. Please contact me at katherina@whalesinmexico.com if you'd like to come to this talk and I'll give you details!

If you need more information about any of these events or would like to invite us to come and give a talk or have an event with us, write to me at katherina@whalesinmexico.com and we'll make it happenWe are hoping to run one more safe whale watch operation workshop on the water in Zihuatanejo before we leave and keep training different guides one-on-one in Barra through the season, for as long as the whales are here. It is just awesome to have so much interest from the community of boat operators this year.

Thanks so much for your continued interest and support. I hope with all my heart to be able to raise sufficient funds for next year to expand our study fully to Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa and Troncones and to run a land-based field station from the lighthouse overlooking Zihuatanejo so we can inspire as many people to shift into a conservationist mindset and collect the data we need to support the long term protection of the whales, and by default, all of the animals in this special place.

We are still accepting donations which will be doubled with an anonymous matching donation of up to $4000. Click here to make a tax-deductible contribution to our project.

Thanks again to all of you for allowing me to do this work.

Author

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.