Whale-Watching: Are they happy to see us, or are they just itchy?

Text by Laura Buckley

If you want a whale-watching expedition with pretty much a whale-sighting guarantee, head to Baja California Sur, Mexico, where human-whale relations are on the up and up. Scientists have been studying the gray whales south of the border and, as writer Charles Siebert describes in “Watching Whales Watching Us,” (New York TImes) the supposed introverted whales “can’t seem to get enough of us.”  Theories abound as to why this may be. Some marine biologists think they’re simply trying to scratch their lice-ridden backs against the boats, while others have a more romantic belief: The gray whales, formally referred to as the “hardheaded devil fish,” are finally embracing us—forgiving us, really—for our past aggressions against them.  It’s tough to know whether the cynics or idealists are correct, but it’s safe to say there’s a lot left to learn about the now social creatures. Seibert also discusses his article with NPR.


  1. I never knew that whales were so friendly now. They are majestic creatures, I would definately like to go visit them in Mexico.

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    Humpback whales have several different gymnastics they perform, and with the Spy Hop they are just checking you out. In performing a spy hop the humpback whale rises vertically with its head out of the water. It is a controlled maneuver that can last for minutes at a time if the whale is sufficiently inquisitive about whatever (or whomever) it is viewing.

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