“Super experience! The Humpback Whale family was embracing us – so emotional for me. Excellent guides, wonderful volunteers.” – Debbie
“Best Trip ever. So much luck with the whale family and the perfect team.” – Laura
“Super fantastic whales. Smallest baby Humpback I’ve ever seen. Keep up the good work!” – Jono
“Great guides – knowledgeable and passionate about conservation. Overall excellent experience.” – Yeo
Over the last while, we’ve been having some absolutely extraordinary whale sightings and it seems as though this is set to continue. A couple weeks back we had a magical encounter with a Southern Right Whale Calf investigating the boat, and almost unbelievably, we had a Humpback Whale Calf do the very same thing today, along with his mom and another adult! We also had some other lovely sightings, so we’ll start today’s story from the very beginning.
We launched at around 10:00 and were making our way towards shallow water when Kira spotted our first spout of the day. Curious as to what large cetacean had made it’s way into our bay, we moved closer and discovered it was none other than a Southern right Whale. We had a lovely time watching this beauty surface, with the whale lifting his incredible flukes up for us and even rolling on his back as we tried to move on with our tour. We also had an African Penguin and Cape Fur Seal pop up during this show.
Our next stop was at Slashfin where the sharks appeared to be cooking. We got to see a juvenile Great White Shark surface several times as we lay next to the anchored vessels. This was super exciting as one is never quite sure of what to expect after two days off the water.
We then went on to pick up some Kelp and take a stop in front of Dyer Island, where we spotted some Swift Terns and a Juvenile Cape Gannet. We decided then that we’d move into Shark Alley towards our Cape Fur Seal colony. Playful and curious as always, this is definitely one of the highlights of our tours! We also got to see some Kelp Gulls investigating a sea sponge and a Bank Cormorant or two. At this point, we decided that we might run to the back of Geyser Rock to see what the deep sea held for us. Which was by far the best decision that we had made all day!
As we exited the alley, Antoine, one our International Marine Volunteers spotted yet another blow from a whale. Although I’d noticed that the one blow looked a little strange, I didn’t think too much of it up until we had stopped in the area of the last whale footprint.
It was here that we got far more than what one could ever dream to see, when a Humpback Whale and her calf appeared mere meters in front of us. As they surfaced, François our skipper popped the boat into neutral and what happened next was nothing short of a fairy tale.
Mom and baby began to circle the boat, joined by another adult who seemed equally as in awe of us as we were of them. The whales approached again and again, moving beneath the boat and then around the entire vessel, leaving us all either speechless or in tears. When they first began, mom kept baby at a safe distance, keeping herself between the boat and baby but, as the sighting progressed, she seemed to relax. At this point, she allowed the little one to come between us, giving us a view of the tiny tot as he tried to figure us out on his own. It is nothing short of awe-inspiring to have had these giants take the time to come into our world and spend a part of their day beside us, checking us out. I think that this sighting certainly won itself a special place in the hearts of all aboard, as one could not have wished for a more spectacular encounter.
Once the whales had moved off a little, we were able to put our engines back into gear and spend some time with our pelagic sea birds which included a few Shy Albatross, Sooty Shearwaters and a White Chinned Petrel.