Guide Summary and Photographs
It felt like summer on the sea today with the awesome addition of some Southern Right Whales – which we don’t get to see in our warmer months-.
On our first trip of the day, we decided to move towards Danger Point first in an effort to find some migrating Humpback Whales. Unfortunately, they’ve been a little scarce over the last couple of days and although we managed to find one large fella, he was not entirely in the mood to spend much time at the surface for us, so we decided to head towards the infamous Shark Alley.
Although the whales were scarce in numbers, the birds were most definitely lost and we had numerous Albatrosses around the boat, along with some Cape Gannets, a variety of terns and the bat-like Sooty Shearwaters who come all the way from New Zealand to feed in our waters.
We entered the Alley via a passage we refer to rather affectionately as the “Washing machine”. This made for a fun trip in, with us arriving to find hundreds of Cape Fur Seals. On days where the weather is a little warmer, the seals tend to overheat so they make their way into the sea and place their flippers in the air. Their flippers are packed choc-o-bloc with blood vessels and when the wind blows over these areas, this brings down the temperature levels of the entire seal, a process known as thermoregulation.
After this, we made our way towards Pearly Beach where, at long last, we found our very first mating group of Southern Right Whales. We stayed with these beauties for some time before heading off back to the harbour for our second trip.
On the second trip, we had the same luck, stumbling across another mating pair just behind Dyer Island. This was a very special pairing with one whale being a Brindle individual and the other having almost no callosities around its head. Seeing a Brindle whale is always pretty special as it is said to effect only 4% of the population. The majority of Brindle whales found are said to be males, although they have found females with this colouration too. As for this whales “love interest”, this gorgeous specimen was really lacking in callosities, which are the rough white patches one may notice gazing upon a Southern Right Whale. We use these patches as a form of identification as every whale’s pattern is completely unique.
We watched them frolic wonderfully for a great 15 minutes, getting to see them roll onto their backs and fool around just below the surface of the water, with flukes and flippers everywhere. The whales were very relaxed and so we were able to watch in close proximity before we decided that we would move off and give them a little privacy.
On this trip, we also got to see our Cape Fur Seals and a little African Penguin, which were just cherries on a perfectly iced cake.
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