HomeDiscoveryHumanima Collection21 - Blue Behemoths in the Sea of Cortés
21 - Blue Behemoths in the Sea of Cortés

Diane Gendron

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21 - Blue Behemoths in the Sea of Cortés

Résumé de l’épisode

The consuming passion of biologist Diane Gendron is played out in the waters of Mexico’s Sea of Cortés, where she studies blue whales, those gigantic yet extremely vulnerable marine mammals.


Diane GendronDiane Gendron has been living for nearly 20 years in close proximity to the blue whales of the Sea of Cortez in Baja California.  Her interest in these great marine mammals began in the mid-eighties when she worked as an assistant researcher at the research station on the Mingan Islands. It surprised her at the time that so little information was available on blue whales.  Since then, Diane has a passion for blue whales, the largest living animals on the planet, measuring from 21 to 30 meters long and weighing up to 200 tons.  Blue whales in the Pacific swim down from the cold waters of Alaska, feeding on plankton, krill and shellfish along the way.  Females give birth to a single calf – nearly 7 meters long and weighing close to 3 tons – every two or three years.  They hug the Pacific coast near Baja California and rear their young in the warm waters of the Gulf of California, also called the Sea of Cortez.  It is here that Diane and her students, most of them Mexican, go out to sea for observations and to perform a variety of research tasks.  Aboard their research vessel, Diane heads out to sea with four of her students to collect vital information.  It’s quite an adventure in such cramped quarters!  Magnificent scenery flashes before our eyes, the blue of the sea contrasting with the ochre of the desert coastline.

Ciro, the ship’s captain knows the area like the back of his hand. Suddenly we spot a spray on the horizon.  It’s a mother with this year’s calf.  We approach cautiously in the boat to within just a few meters of the giant creature.  We have to work quickly so we don’t upset the mother and her calf.  We move away as soon as we’ve collected the vital research data.

Queue BaleineIn late March or early April, Diane Gendron spends all her time out at sea among these marine mammals.  Diane’s continuous exposure to blue whales and sperm-whales has increased her concerns about the excessive urban expansion currently occurring in Baja California and what impact these new housing developments could have on the whales’ environment.  Following Diane Gendron on her expeditions will give us the opportunity to share her knowledge and passion for these gigantic yet fragile creatures.

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Avec les géants bleus de la mer de Cortés

Par JOHANNE DUPERRON, 2013-04-30, 00h55


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