I awoke to the sunrise with sandy toes and anticipation. With The unfiltered Baja sun
illuminating the whole beach, I stared across the lagoon knowing it was going to be an important day. We loaded into a small panga (boat) and ventured into the bay. It wasn’t long before a mother Gray whale and her calf inquisitively approached our boat. 

Reaching out to draw her in with playful splashes, she gently broke the surface. I grazed the top of her seemingly endless head. she felt strong. Searching for a way to describe this mystical ocean giant, I took to Google to see what the rest of the world had to say. From a slippery unripe tomato or freshly peeled boiled egg to a new pack of hotdogs, cold and wet from the fridge, I giggled in agreement that she felt reminiscent of all these things, if tomatoes and hot dogs were covered in barnacles and stunk of the sea. 

As she rose in the water you were introduced to a micro ecosystem living alongside her back. Barnacles anchored into 2 inches of blubber, catching a free ride to filter feeding paradise and sea lice clustered by the hundreds, all hitchhikers relying on the bottom feeding habits of Gray Whales for the opportunity to find a new home and stable source of food. 

My jaw hung heavy in awe. My cheeks ached for days from the ocean induced smile plastered on my face. My heart filled with a joy only 8 year old Jordan, who kept the whale book on renew at her school’s library, could understand. I knew this experience was going to be formative and I am so grateful every day to get the chance to connect with the incredible life on our planet. My soul has been enriched and my desire to conserve this beautiful, strange rock, much stronger. This is the power of  Families in Nature.

– Jordan Joly, Families in Nature’s Program Coordinator

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