Savior of the Whales

MEXICO CITY — Some 40 years ago a poor fisherman named Francisco Mayoral, who lived on the shores of San Ignacio Lagoon, halfway down the Pacific coast of Baja California Sur, stretched out his hand to touch a gray whale that raised its head out of the water alongside his wooden panga. Mr. Mayoral, who […]

Guardian of the Gray Whales

FRANCISCO (PACHICO) MAYORAL, R.I.P. “Pachico,” as he was known to all in the small village that surrounds Baja’s San Ignacio Lagoon, changed my life. He changed the lives of thousands who have journeyed in recent years to this magical place to see and even pet whales in the wild. The guardian of the lagoon, Pachico […]

Of Whales and Fish

First, the good news: In mid-February 2011, the Japanese whaling fleet in the Antarctic’s Southern Ocean called it quits because of pressure from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Paul Watson’s crew on three ships had been chasing the Japanese fleet for more than a week, making it impossible for them to continue operations. This year, […]

Dick Russell’s speech at “Save the Whales Day” rally, Santa Monica, Calif., May 22, 2010

What is the International Whaling Commission thinking? How can they be on the verge of legitimizing rogue whaling, and how come the United States seems to be going along with this? The global moratorium on commercial whaling that took effect almost 25 years ago has WORKED. The number of great whales being slaughtered each year […]

A Gray Whale Migration Story

Perhaps 100 yards off our bow, a massive gray mound rises to the surface. Francisco Mayoral, the wizened captain of our small motorized panga, cuts back on the throttle and begins a gradual approach. A fan-shaped geyser of seawater erupts ahead and subsides with a whoosh. As the whale dives, arching its heart-shaped flukes, a […]

Troubled Waters for Gray Whales

A new report compiled by the California Gray Whale Coalition paints a disturbing picture of what’s happening to the “friendly” whales that migrate annually from Arctic feeding grounds to the warm lagoon birthing areas of Mexico’s Baja peninsula. As I described in my 2001 book, Eye of the Whale, gray whales require a healthy supply […]

A giant of the sea finds slimmer pickings

Gray whales are skinnier and scientists suspect Arctic warming is the reason why SAN SIMEON, CALIF. — A female gray whale labored up the coast, the bony ridge of a shoulder blade protruding from what should be the smooth, plump roundness of healthy blubber. “That female looks a little skinny,” said federal biologist Wayne Perryman, […]

Going to See the Gray Whales

March is prime time to pay a visit to the friendly gray whales of Laguna San Ignacio. People who’ve read my book, “Eye of the Whale,” and other visitors to my website often ask about my recommendations for how to go about doing this. So, here they are: If you can spare a week’s time, […]

With Friends Like This

The whales have very few human friends on this planet. Oh yes, everyone wants to save the whales. They love to go to meetings and draft heavily worded proclamations defending the whales. They love to create whale sanctuaries. They love to sign petitions and send letters of condemnation. They love to film whales dying and […]