Guide Summary and Photographs
The wind is picking up again tomorrow, so we were lucky to start the day off without a breath of wind out there. New moon is upon us so we launched our first trip out of Gansbaai Harbour, making our way around Danger Point towards Dyer Island.
Our very first sighting was a few African Penguins bobbing about in the water, followed by some whales. At first, we were a little sketchy about the identification of these individuals with the whales keeping their dark bodies beneath the surface of the water for a bit on approach. Once they surfaced, our confusion became justified when we had a mother Southern Right Whale pop up with almost no callosities. The callosities, which are thickened patched of skin with barnacles attached to them, are one of the most defining features of these large baleen whales and although each animals is unique, we don’t always get to see animals where they are almost absent.
This mom had a playful baby by her side, which breached right next to us after they had been down a while. These beauties also gave us a tail fluke or two before heading on their way. We found another species of whale next, with a shy Brydes Whale showing face. These mysterious cetaceans stay along our coast and follow the fish, which we seemed to have an abundance of in the bay today.
Our next sighting was on a few Giant Petrels feeding off a seal carcass, with one of the petrels having a little trouble with its leg. Unfortunately, we were unable to help this scavenging bird today, but we hope to see him soon so that we can try again. At Dyer Island, we had a look at our Cape Fur Seals before moving towards the harbour via the shallows.
The next trip started off with a spectacular sight, one we were lucky to have on all 4 trips in the form of a brindle Southern Right Calf. We named this almost all white baby “John Snow” and watched this cutie play with mom before we head to Pearly Beach. Here, we found whale after whale with a spectacular approach from 2 curious sub adults. These guys pulled up alongside us and hung vertically, tails just below the surface, which made for the experience of a lifetime. After a stop at our seal colony, this trip got lucky at our sister company when we had a lone Bronze Whaler come up briefly.
The 3rd trip of the day also got to indulge in the splendour that was John Snow, this little calf was super cool, bursting out the water whilst travelling along with mom in the shallows. In Pearly beach, we also had quite a few Southern Rights around, including a mom with a really small calf that we slowly passed.
We also had some awesome sights on the final trip of the day, with the whale activity picking up a bit with the wind. In addition to John Snow and mom, we also had 2 other mom and calf pairs and a sub adult who we’ve also been seeing around lately. The sub adult, Danny, did a bit of sailing for us which provided an excellent photographic opportunity. Whilst watching Danny, we had a calf start to breach on the other side of the boat, so we moved in closer for a better look. We got a few more breaches out of the little guy, who seemed to be having an absolute ball, before we took a drive through shark alley to spend some time with the seals. The final sighting of the day was a large raft of African Penguins who were heading on home.
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