Whale watching near Mexico

Mexico is quite a long stretch of land. Especially when you sail with a ship along the coast from Guatemala to North America. And it seems even longer on a sailing ship when there is not much wind. Fortunately boredom is seldom the case on board of a ship and especially not when the weather is great. On the contrary, there is always something to do on board of a ship.

There is the usual maintenance in the engine room, some rusting and painting tasks on deck, and put oiling the wooden parts. When there is more wind we set sails to stow them again 2 days later. This way we continue our voyage north (mile by mile).

A WHALE’s fountain

I already wrote about the variety of birds and dolphins. But at this moment is the right time
For spotting whales in this part of the ocean. Very occasionally you see the familiar  fountain of a whale in the distance. But to say that there is a huge amount of whales around would not be the truth. With every day we have our hopes up to see a group of whales. And every evening we are a bit more disappointed. No matter how wonderful it is to see dolphins accompanying the ship, it is not the same as watching a whale close up.  

On our way to the mountain

My grandmother taught me important lessons in life a long time ago, at the time that I didn’t knowmuch about the sea and about ships which helped me a lot later on in life. She always used to say: if the mountain does not come to you, you have to go to the mountain instead. So I threw away all the images in my head of men rowing towards a whale in the middle of the sea and of helmsmen waiting with a harpoon in their hands on the bow for the perfect opportunity to throw his weapon at the animal. In the middle of the sea and far away from the civilized world, hoping that the whale’s tail will not lead to capsizing the boat. Instead I tried to think of recent images of motorboats and people with life jackets on and a camera in the hand. These people are not at sea for days but are seen near whales. We therefore chose a course towards the coast and beach, hoping to see a whale up close.

Moby Dick

At dawn, Mexico was in sight already and a little later we heard the person on the lookout say  whale on the starboard side. Soon it became clear to us that there were several. We finally found them (!) and it seemed they were as curious of us as we are of them. They were swimming round the ship and on went underneath the ship even. Such beautiful sight to see how these giants swim around the ship and how everyone on board is looking at them with fascination. I am glad that  there no longer is a need for those animals to be so scared of human beings. Yet a day later I am still wondering if the images in my head of Moby Dick aren’t much more adventurous.
29°13’N 116°05’W
Photos: Klaas Pieter

about the author

Andi Manser - Captain Clipper Stad Amsterdam

Captain Andi Manser came on his bike to the Netherlands all the way from Switzerland, his country of birth. He hoped to find a job on a yacht. His job as captain on the Clipper Stad Amsterdam is a dream come true