Brave Captain’s Unique Bond with Whales: A Tale of Trust and Gratitude

Paco Jimenez Franco has helmed whale-watching expeditions in Ojo de Liebre, a serene lagoon on Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, for over twenty years.

His encounters with these majestic marine giants have been nothing short of awe-inspiring. But Franco’s connection with these incredible creatures goes beyond mere observation; it’s a heartwarming story of mutual aid.

Watch the video at the end.


During his journeys, Franco noticed something intriguing. Approaching his boat, some whales bore an unwelcome burden – whale lice, pesky parasites that attach themselves to the whales’ bodies.

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While the impact of these lice on the whales remains uncertain, the whales’ leaping behavior may be an attempt to rid themselves of these clingy companions.

Franco’s intuition led him to a daring experiment. When a curious whale approached, he carefully plucked off some lice.

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To his surprise, the whale seemed to appreciate the gesture. “Once I removed the first one, she approached again so that I could continue to do so,” Franco shared.

In an astonishing display of trust, the whale returned for more cleaning sessions. Franco describes the enchanting scene – the whale lifting her head from the water, seemingly inviting him to carry on with the grooming.

This unique interaction wasn’t a one-time event. Franco has been honored with repeat visits, becoming a “cleaner” for these oceanic beauties.


Whale touch is generally prohibited across much of the world. Yet, along specific stretches of Baja California’s coastline, like Franco’s cherished lagoon, an exception is made when the whale initiates contact.

Franco’s connection with the whales exemplifies this special rapport built on trust and mutual respect.

Franco’s admiration for these ocean wanderers has grown immensely through these encounters. “I have learned, by seeing their behavior, that there is a certain nobility in them,” he revealed. “They’re incredible.”


Franco’s story showcases his bond with these remarkable creatures and sheds light on the intricate and mysterious world beneath the waves.

It’s a heartening reminder that meaningful connections can thrive even in the vastness of the sea.

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