Nothing says wintertime better than a 40 ton humpback whale breaching the surface of a crystal bay while sipping coffee on a veranda surrounded by lush green jungle.
Well this is winter for all those who live in Sayulita, and from December to March the distant shore is a playground for migrating humpback whales as they skip along the surface for spectators to enjoy.
Whether lying on the sand, lounging on the patio or surfing the point, the majestic humpback whale is likely to be seen as thousands of these amazing creatures travel nearly 16,000 miles south for winter. These whales travel a little over one mile per hour and take their time coming down, often arriving in separate groups. They spend the entire summer in northern waters to feed. Then they migrate to the Bay of Banderas to mate and birth their calves before the long journey back north. It is a tremendous delight to see the small humpbacks, still around 400 pounds and 7 feet long, jumping through the surf without a care in the world.
Humpback whales prefer shallow waters and tend to stay around the coastlines when in the tropics. For this reason many have grown accustomed to people watching nearby and will come closer as if to offer a better look. They will swim alongside the boats and often surface near enough to feel the salty spray released as they breathe. Being playful they will often breach, twirl, slap their tail on the water and stick their heads out like a periscope. Many tours are offered in and around Sayulita so that everyone can enjoy the proximity of this extraordinary animal, but there are also strictly followed laws to ensure the safety and prosperity of this visiting marine life. The best experience is sitting on the beach at sunset and watching the darkened silhouette leap towards the sky.
With four months of tropical life, the humpback whales have plenty of time to create new families, enjoy the warmer waters and give all who live in the bay memories to last forever.
Photo by: Sandy/Chuck Harris
*some photos or images may not be related to Sayulita