While sailing off the coast of La Paz, a tourist boat ran headfirst into a whale. The impact caused the boat to fly, resulting in injuries to 6 of those onboard, including three children. Video of the crash was caught on tape by bystanders. While the children walked away with minor injuries, two of the three adults were hospitalized, one with severe injuries sustained after flying through an awning right overhead and directly into the water.
Mexican authorities have regulations in place when it comes to whale watching, requiring tour boats to stay far away from whales to avoid accidents. They advise tour companies to watch the waters carefully, spotting whales and changing their direction to avoid the possibility of direct contact. The tour boat, set to sail through the open waters was apparently not engaged in whale watching at the time of the crash. So far, authorities or those involved in the crash have not commented on the incident, and their reason for setting sail is currently unknown.
This is not the first time such an event has taken place, with minor accidents that have caused only minor injuries to those involved. The most tragic event happened back in 2015, when a 35-year-old Canadian woman died from a tragic accident involving a whale. The 2015 accident is not typical, with very minor run-ins reported here and there. Whale watching is typically a safe and enjoyable activity to do while in Los Cabos, though it’s recommended to go with a certified whale watching company.
Each year from December to April, whales make their way down to the warm, calming waters near the Sea of Cortez. Visitors can sign up for a number of guided tours, with experts on both Humpback Whales and Gray Whales.
There are typically no worries about running into whales, as whale watching company crews are diligently trained about the waters and whale’s typical hangout spot. Boats can take anywhere from 10 to 12 guests at a time, and the ride typically lasts about 2.5 hours. Options for private boats are available too, with costs up to $819 and space for up to 11 passengers.
Whale watching companies in Los Cabos typically offer a Whale Sightings Guarantee, knowing that they are sure to be in the water during their migration season. Apart from whales, passengers have a high probability of catching a glimpse of other marine wildlife, including Dolphins, Sea Turtles, and even Sea Lions. For the most part, it’s a great experience
Whales stay underwater most of the time but will surface to breathe. Just like any animal, whales are unpredictable, and may sometimes jump or lift their tails out of the water. Because of its size, anything that’s in the way can be in danger, especially if boats are not large or well protected. Whales don’t purposely hit boats, but rather just accidently run into things as they can’t see all around them at all times given their large size.
Because this is not something that happens often, tours are set to continue the following whale migrating season. The one thing that visitors may see are increased regulations and more safety precautions in place. Los Cabos is home to dozens of certified whale watching companies, many of them with luxury packages that add snorkeling, swimming with dolphins, and jet skis, just to name a few. Though the whales are on their way back up north, chances to book tours are available for next season, which will start again mid-December.
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