Whale watching – expect the unexpected?! (part 2)

Whale watching – expect the unexpected?! (part 2)

Want to know what happened before?  Click here to find out…

And there we are out on the ocean.  Within minutes our skipper finds a pod of bottlenose dolphins, bopping on the rhythm of the waves.  And we’re bopping right next to them, in awe of these elegant and playful creatures.

Next on this ocean safari’s menu is the humpback whale.  As can be expected, these whales took their name from the ‘hump’ which can be found right in front of their small dorsal fin.  Although migratory, these 2nd largest whales populating the area, can be found here all year round.  But they are shy, further out at sea and therefore difficult to spot.  So you can imagine our excitement, when all of sudden right in front of the boat we noticed these big bodies floating in the ocean.  A spout of water shows us their position one more time before they disappear under the water’s surface.  We wait, patiently.  They are known to go under for up to 5 minutes, before they resurface again.  So we wait a little longer.  While we wait we move forward at their expected speed of about 3-4 nautical knots.  After about 8 minutes we realize we have lost them.  They must have turned into a different direction, under water.  Without letting us know, they are gone…

We continue our ways.  We follow the coastline, but this time further out at sea.  All of a sudden there are some ‘flippers’ pointing upwards.  A pod of seals pretends they are not doing anything. But surely they linger there where the food is.  To make it even more exciting: where there are seals, there are sharks…  That’s what our knowledgeable skipper told us.  Hmm, nice one!  Let me tell you, yes, I like to explore, I like to try anything new and different.  But I’m not the type who would like to get up and close with sharks, especially big ones, especially far out at sea.

So I am happy to move on.  Albatross, petrel, and the occasional gannet join us on our search for the Southern Right whale.  And as we almost give up hope, there they are!  Just outside The Heads, indeed much closer to shore than the more elusive humpback whales, this young mother and calve reveal themselves to us.   The callosities on its head and the broad back without a dorsal fin are the most significant characteristics of these enormous mammals.  Females can grow up to 15 meters, and weigh up to 47 tons.  Interesting facts.  But the most interesting fact the skipper shares with us is that the testicles of the male Southern Right is probably the largest of any animal, weighing around 500kg.  Each!

What can I say?!  We went out to sea, found what we were looking for.  And then a bit more…

About Eagle Eyes

Ypie Kingma (aka Eagle Eyes) was born and bred in The Netherlands. After graduating in International Business she lived, worked and played in Moscow, Russia for six years. When the financial crisis hit the country in 1998 she and her husband Erik relocated to Amsterdam for a short while before going on a new adventure to South Africa. They ran a very successful guesthouse in Knysna, at 'the bottom of Africa' where they since then started an inbound tour company specializing in tailor made individual or group (golf) tours, which can be self-drive or chauffeur-driven to the whole of South(ern) Africa, incl. accommodation, tee-off times, sightseeing, car rental, etc. Eagle Eyes (#EagleEyes): observations of a golfer, on anything golf and travel in South Africa. Personal stories, possibly biased but always honest. Because there is so much more than just golf!

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