Gray whale encounters on a boat in Baja.

After 20 years at Natural Habitat Adventures, I had the opportunity to do something new…share the experience of a Nat Hab trip with one of my children! My 10-year-old daughter and I went on the Great Gray Whales of Baja trip in April, and seeing a new part of the world through her eyes was magical. Everything from showing our passports at security to trying new foods to getting up close and personal with mother and baby whales created excitement in her that I will remember forever. I was proud and honored to bear witness to what I hope was the first of many adventures in her life.

My 10-year-old daughter and I on the Great Gray Whales of Baja trip.

There were a few other kids in our group, which was great! They entertained each other and provided a lens through which we adults could view the innocence and excitement of a new generation. One of my favorite and most profound observations from being with these “future explorers” was the way that the whales interacted with us.

A young girl greets a gray whale in Baja.

The babies, having gained a little more independence from their moms by April than they had in February when they were first born, were so curious about us. It was almost like they were playing, peering out of the water at us on one side and then diving beneath the boat to rise again on the other side. The mother whale was nearby but seemed completely comfortable with her baby investigating and being entertained by us, just as I was near my daughter and was happy to watch her seek out new thrills as she moved around the boat to see the calf. It was almost like my daughter and the young whale both knew that they had something in common, being young, full of energy and inquisitive about the world around them!

My 10-year-old daughter on the Great Gray Whales of Baja trip

A close meeting with whales in their natural habitat is one of the world’s greatest wildlife encounters. Off Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, you’ll make giant friendships at sea with a small group of like-minded travelers eager for adventure.

By Sarah Knight, Adventure Prep Specialist at Natural Habitat Adventures. All photos © Sarah Knight.