Gray Whales
Touching the Whales: A Visit to A Nursery Lagoon

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My name is Vanessa and I live in Huntington Beach, CA, with my parents and my little sister, Olivia. My family decided to go see the gray whales in Baja’s Ojo de Liebre Lagoon one February when I was 9 years old. First, I wanted to learn as much as possible about where we were going, and about the gray whales. I learned a lot of stuff I didn’t know before. Much of it was from the Journey North website. My sister and I made lapbooks from the information we found.

The lapbook is made from file folders and has flaps that have questions about the whales and, when you lift them, have the answers. There are also pockets with vocabulary words and whale facts. It is decorated with photos from the trip.
I learned about the gray whale migration, how to spot gray whales, about the lagoons in Baja, what and how much they eat and about their behavior.

We drove to the lagoon with my grandparents, stopping overnight in the town of Catavina. The drive was about 10 hours and it was very beautiful. We stayed in the town of Guerrero Negro and went whale watching two days in little boats called pangas that can only hold 10 people. Our guide told us that there were about 550 whales in the lagoon. The first day I saw about 50 whales. It was a very calm day. There were a lot of mothers and babies about 20 feet from us.


When I came home, I wrote this poem:

Gray Whales
When I saw a whale I felt happiness, peace, joy and calmness
When I pet a whale it felt cool, smooth soft and creamy
When I listened to a whale I heard splashing, breathing and spouting
I love whales!

My name is Olivia and I am 7 years old. I loved seeing the whales. I liked petting them even more! The lagoon is called Ojo de Liebre, which means Jackrabbit because that is how the shape of it looks. I learned that baby whales are called pickleheads and I saw why—they look like big black pickles! The baby whales are born black. They turn gray as they get older and get barnacles.

I had learned about breaching, but when we were whale watching I saw a whale breach over and over again, about eight times! I didn’t know they could do that.

On the way home we stopped in a town called Catavina. We hiked up a steep hill with many rocks. When we got to the top we saw cave paintings that were hundreds of years old. They were painted in orange and yellow and black. There were shiny spots where they may have had a fire. Before we got home, I had already decided that I wanted to go back!

This is the Baja Peninsula, or the state of Baja California Mexico. The four main nursery lagoons are the dots on the map. Can you find Ojo de Liebre?



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