The gray whales in San Ignacio Lagoon frequently approach small tourist boats, seeking the human interaction. While they could easily avoid the people, whose small boats are not allowed to closely approach whales, they actually seem to enjoy making contact.
Laguna San Ignacio is on the Pacific coast of Mexico's Baja peninsula and is the destination for hundreds of gray whales, who migrate annually to the region from their feeding grounds in the Arctic. Here, where the water is shallow and warm, they give birth to their young. It lies within El Vizcaino Biosphere Reserve and is the gray whale's last undisturbed nursing and breeding ground, largely thanks to an environmental victory in 2000 that stopped the development of an industrial salt plant.
Whale watching here is highly regulated, with limits on how many boats can be on the water, how long they can stay, and how close they can get; rather than closely approaching the whales, they must idle their engine and wait for the whales to approach the vessel, which is a common occurrence.