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Gray Whale Season 2022 Wrap Up

BY: Valentina / 2 COMMENTS / CATEGORIES: Baja, Conservation, whales

Gray Whale Season 2022 Wrap Up

Gray whale season in Baja is officially over! It’s always a bittersweet time of year to see the whales leave: we will not see them until next year, but they’re migrating back to Alaska where they will be eating 1.2 tons of food every day to get strong and be able to come back to Baja next year. They have the longest migration of any mammal on Earth!

Spy hop
Gray Whale watching

This season has been outstanding! We had a 100% sighting success during our daily expeditions, and we witnessed some incredible behaviors. The most unforgettable moment to me was to watch the gray whales courtship and mate! We were able to see a male following the female, showing us the pectoral fins, twirling around and even saw the 2m (6 ft) penis! The most beautiful part was when they were belly to belly mating.

If you’ve come to our expeditions, you know that it is much more than whale watching. As a marine biologist, I love educating people who come onboard about gray whale biology, behavior, reproduction, ecology, conservation and pretty much anything I know. I take data of weather conditions and sightings every day, to be able to understand the whales in a deeper way. However, the captain, José knows the gray whales like his own family. He knows what time of month and day is best according to the moon and the tides. He runs a family business, where his fisherman dad provides the food that we eat on the tour, and his wife or sister cooks it for us. Best scallop you’ll ever try!

Gray Whale watching
Captain Jose

I also like to show the diverse ecosystems that Baja California Peninsula has to offer. On tours, we often visit the frigate bird colony in the mangroves, or wonder in the sand dunes next to hundreds or thousands of pelicans, cormorants and seagulls.

This Gray Whale season we were very happy to see moms with calfs, and very young whales (around 1 or 2 years old) which makes me so happy to see them healthy, meaning they have survived the most critical part of their lifetime!

Isla Margarita
Bird watching Baja
Sand dunnes

We can’t be grateful enough to nature and to the Gray Whales for being so generous and friendly! They made us cry tears of joy, laugh and smile. They’re presence fills us with joy and we can’t wait to see them again next season starting January 15th 2023! If you’d like more information about our daily or multiple-day expeditions, we organize tailored expeditions to fit your desires. Thank you whales and thanks to all of you who help make this happen!

Now it’s time to say goodbye to the Gray Whales, and hello to the Mobula Rays! The largest schools in the World can be found here in Baja, and it’s one of nature’s most spectacular events. Mobulas are famous for their high jumps and acrobatics in the air. Freediving with hundreds or thousands of them is a unique experience that you can’t miss. Check out our Mobula Ray Expedition on May 15-19, only 4 spots available. Email us to book your spot 🙂

Gray Whale watching
Mobula Rays
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Freediving Beginner Course

BY: Valentina / 4 COMMENTS / CATEGORIES: Baja, Course, Freediving

AIDA 2 Star Course – Freediving Beginner Course

In this post you will find all the information you need about the Freediving Beginner Course; the purpose, prerequisites, itinerary, costs, knowledge development and certification requirements.

The AIDA2 Course is the foundation course of AIDA, covering the necessary skills and knowledge for a non-competitive recreational freediver to safely freedive. It is a beginner course designed for students who are already confident in the water. The purpose of the course is to familiarize yourself with the skills, knowledge, safety procedures and enjoyment of freediving. You will be introduced to the basic disciplines of freediving: Static Apnea, Dynamic Apnea, Free Immersion and Constant Weight freediving.

The static and dynamic sessions in confined water are used to teach relaxation, breathing, finning, body positioning and safety techniques.  In the open water sessions you will use the skills learned in the pool / confined water sessions and combine those with the basic skills of open water freediving such as; Equalizing, Duck Diving, Vertical Swimming, Body Positioning, Turns and Use of Buoyancy.

Prerequisites

To enroll in the AIDA2 Freediving Beginner Course, you must:

  • Be 18 years of age or older (16 or 17 years with parent or guardian consent)
  • Be able to swim at least 100m non-stop
  • Have completed the AIDA Medical Form (provided at course start)
  • Have completed the Liability Release (provided at course start)

Knowledge Development

During the course we will go through theory taught by your instructor in a classroom. You will be given the AIDA2 online manual. We will go through these topics:

  • Introduction to Freediving
  • Freediving Breathing Cycle
  • Basic Physiology of Freediving
  • Equalisation
  • Freedive Technique
  • Safety in Freediving
  • Equipment in Freediving
  • Freediving Disciplines

Certification Requirements

  • Pass the theory exam with a score of at least 75%
  • Perform a static breath hold of at least 2 minutes.
  • Perform a 40m dynamic apnea with bifins (horizontal distance swimming underwater in confined water).
  • Perform a 12m Constant Weight dive (vertical distance in depth in open water).
  • Demonstrate appropriate rescue techniques and safety in dynamic, static and constant weight.
  • Demonstrate a proper technique of the breathing cycle and finning, body position, duckdive, etc.

If you don’t meet the depth requirements you can get certified as AIDA2 Pool Freediver. If you don’t meet any pool and/or depth requirements you can get certified as AIDA1. But don’t worry, you’re here to learn. As any other sport, practice makes perfect, so here we will teach you all you need to practice freediving safely and with good technique. After the course you can keep training to go deeper 😉

Itinerary and price

We teach this course in 3 to 4 days. The content of the course is exactly the same. However, I find that 4 days is more relaxed, but we understand that some people can’t take too many days off, so we got you covered!

Day 1

9am-noon – We’ll meet at the classroom, fill out paperwork and start the theory lesson.

Noon-1:30pm – Lunch break

1:30-5/6pm – We will meet at the pool or local beach (depending on the weather) to practice static apnea (holding your breath without moving) and dynamic apnea (horizontal distance covered underwater holding your breath). When we finish with the confined water activities we will go back to shore and go through the last part of the theory under a palapa for another 30 minutes.

*If we do the 4 day course, then during the first day we’ll meet at 9 am and have the theory lesson for about 2h30 min. Then we’ll go to the pool or calm shallow sea and do the static session and finish around 3pm. The second day we’ll meet at 9am, have the rest of the theory for about 2 hours, then go to the pool and do the dynamic apnea session until about 3pm.

Day 2*

8am-3/4pm –  We will pick you up at the meeting point in La Paz and go on a 45 minute drive through beautiful Baja scenery. When we get to the beach we will do body stretching to relax our muscles and start the freediving-relaxing mode. Once everything is on the boat a local panguero (captain) will take us to the best spot in the area with the best conditions (from 25-45 minute boat ride, depending on the weather). During this boat ride we may see dolphins, pelagic fish and even whales if you’re lucky! When we get to a protected spot we will set the buoy, gear up and start with the open water skills. During this time our panguero will always have the boat nearby with water and snacks.  We usually take a 20-30 minute break halfway through the session to relax and talk a little about how the day is going.  Around 1pm we will take the boat back to shore and be in La Paz around 3pm.

*If you take the 4 course day, this will be your Day 3.

Day 3*

8am-7pm – The schedule is the same as day 2, except towards the end of the diving session you can choose to keep practicing your skills and go deeper, or go to a reef and do fun dives (if weather permits it).

When we go back to La Paz we will take a break so you can eat and relax.  At 6pm, we meet at a coffee shop to do the theory exam and revise it.

*If you take the 4 course day, this will be your Day 4.

*The location of the depth sessions may change according to the weather and the amount of people taking the course.

Price:

$420usd per person.

Includes: theory manuals, pool fees, AIDA certification, boat fees, transportation from La Paz.

We hope to see you underwater! If you have any doubts please contact us at info@freefallacademy.net and we will be happy to assist you.

 

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