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00AM MDT SEPT 14, 2014.... HURRICANE ODILE REMAINS A DANGEROUS CATEGORY 3 HURRICANE NOW INLAND NORTH OF CABO SAN LUCAS. THE TRACK ALSO NOW PLACES THE SYSTEM INROUTE TO LA PAZ PREP FOR CATEGORY 2+ EFFECTS IN THE EARLY TOMORROW MORNING. THE REOUTE PPASSES BETWEEN LA PAZ AND TODOS SANTOS... THIS IS THE MOST POWERFUL STORM TO HIT THE PENINSULA SINCE 1948 AND THE ONLY OTHER MAJOR HURRICANE SINCE KIKO IN 1989. THIS IS A VERY DANGEROUS STORM - TAKE EXTREME CAUTION... A HURRICANE WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR BAJA CALIFORNIA SUR FROM PUNTA ABREOJOS TO LORETO... A HURRICANE WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR THE WEST COAST OF BAJA CALIFORNIA SUR FROM NORTH OF PUNTA ABREOJOS TO PUNTA EUGENIA... A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR THE EAST COAST OF BAJA CALIFORNIA SUR FROM NORTH OF LORETO TO BAHIA SAN JUAN BAUTISTA & THE WEST COAST OF BAJA CALIFORNIA SUR FROM NORTH OF PUNTA ABREOJOS TO PUNTA EUGENIA... A TROPICAL STORM WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR NORTH OF PUNTA EUGENIA TO SAN JOSE DE LAS PALOMAS MAINLAND MEXICO FROM ALTATA TO BAHIA KINO HEED ALL EVACUATION ORDERS BY LOCAL GOVERNMENTS... CLICK ON HURRICANE ODILE IN THE "LATEST STORIES" COLUMN LEFT FOR UPDATED INFORMATION.... HEED ALL EVACUATION ORDERS BY LOCAL GOVERNMENTS... CLICK ON HURRICANE ODILE IN THE "LATEST STORIES" COLUMN LEFT FOR UPDATED INFORMATION....

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Encounters Whale Sharks in the Sea of Cortez

Contact Info for Amigo Charters

Amigo Charters on the Sea of Cortez

See one of the wonders of the Sea of Cortez and our regular winter visitors, the whale sharks. Although finding them is never guaranteed, the winter brings a small school of them to the waters just minutes away from our dock. Come along on a half-day trip and swim with these gentle giants.

Just $795.00 for a full day. Sunset and 1/2 Day tours just $495
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Swimming with Whale Sharks
Whale sharks - the largest fish in the ocean and return every winter to the waters of the Bay of La Paz. Swimming with these gentle giants can be the perfect end to a dive trip or island outing.

From early winter until late spring the whale sharks can be found feeding in the rich waters of the Sea of Cortez and in the Bay of La Paz in Baja California Sur. The gentle giants of the sea are the largest fish in the world and each season return to the waters close to the city of La Paz. Seeing these ocean behemoths in their natural environment or swimming close to these fish can be an exciting outing for young and old. Island tour boats that visit the Isla Espiritu Santos or the sea lion colony at Los Islotes often close the trip with a whale shark encounter.

whale sharks in the Sea of CortezWhale sharks are fish, not air breathing mammals, as they come from the family of the second part of their name, sharks and the Rhincodon genus. These giant filter feeding fish known scientifically as Rhincodon typus eat amongst the smallest creatures in the ocean , plankton. Moving slowly through the water, filtering thousands of gallons per day, these fish glean their nutrients from the rich winter waters of the Sea of Cortez.

Whale shark encounterWhale sharks are the largest known species of fish, growing to 12.5 meters and can weigh as much as 79,000 pounds. The whale sharks here in La Paz are often 7-10 meters in length. The fish can live as much as 70 years. The species originated about 60 million years ago. Whale sharks have very large mouths, they feed mainly, though not exclusively, on plankton, microscopic plants and animals, and occasionally on small fish.

whale shark in Bay of La PAzOnce plentiful in the waters of the worlds oceans, the whale sharks are an endangered species and protected under international and Mexican law. They are not good eating.

A variety of tour operators in La Paz can take you to see the whale sharks, or if you are visiting by boat you can venture out of the Ensenada de La Paz and have a whale shark encounter of your own. Since the waters of the Sea are relatively cold in the winter time, dropping into the upper 60’s, a 3-7mm wetsuit make the experience much more inviting if you plan on getting in the water. The whale sharks are usually found near the middle of the spit of land that extend out in front of La Paz, known as the Magote. Swimmer and whale shark\There is a drop off where the 2-3’ meter depths that extend out from land and drop quickly to 7-10 meters. Currents in the area often form a rich up welling that provides food for the whale sharks. In the afternoons the location can often be determined by the cluster of tour vessels.

Whether you take a tour or your own boat to see the whale sharks there are some guidelines for conservation that must be observed. If you are approaching by boat, reduce your speed and keep a sharp lookout.

Rules for swimming with whale sharks in the Sea of Cortez
Regulations for whale shark encounters in the Sea of Cortez
Click to enlarge

Once sighting the whale sharks maintain speeds of less than 3kts, and approach the fish. They usually are found in schools of 3-5 fish. Since they do not surface for air they can be more difficult to locate.

Look for areas of unusual wave breaks or ‘footprint’ in calm water. Take care when piloting your vessel, with the small population of whale sharks in the Bay you do not wish to become infamous for being the skipper to strike a whale shark. Motorized vessels should maintain a distance of 20 meters. Do not harass the fish or toss food at them, they wouldn’t be interested in anything you eat.

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If you wish to get in the water with whale sharks it can be an unforgettable experience. First, remember you present far more danger to the fish than the fish does to you. Stay clear of the whale shark, give the marine giant at least 2 meters of space. Do not touch the fish, the touch of the whale sharks skin can leave them open to life threatening infection. With the fish moving so slowly and docilely, it is difficult to resist the urge to make contact. Giving the fish distance also provides you some safety, as it is still a large animal moving freely in the wild. A brisk movement of the tail to escape intruders can cause injury to swimmers. It is a breath taking experience to look eye to eye with a creature this large.

Take plenty of pictures and video, you will certainly want to remember your encounter with the whale sharks of La Paz and take the proof back to your unbelieving friends back home. Do your part to protect these endangered species in the Sea of Cortez. End

Video of Whale sharks near Loreto submitted by Bernadette Jarrard