A Once In A Lifetime Humpback Whale Encounter,23 May 2019

We had a magical day out on the ocean...

Written by Jax Bath, May 23 2019

A Once In A Lifetime Humpback Whale Encounter,23 May 2019

Guide's Account.

Today was the perfect day out at sea, with sunshine, swell and spectacular sightings. Most days. The animals take our breath away but today’s Humpback Whale experience was one for the books. As one of our guests describes it “This was an encounter, not a sighting.”, and this could not have been truer.

We launched our tour at around 11 and made our way past Uilenkraalsmond estuary towards the shark cage diving boats. Once we reached the area, we took a quick stop at Slashfin, where we seemed to bring some luck. Almost as soon as we started we had the Bronze Whaler emerge from the depths, staying below the surface for a while before treating us to some lovely views. The shark showed off its dorsal fin and even some of its head before we decided to see what else the ocean had in store for us.

Our next sighting was one for the senses, when we found thousands of Cape Cormorants on their way out to do some fishing. We listened to the sound of their beating wings and got a whiff of their guano inspired aroma as they passed us by. We watched for a few minutes as the birds few in streams, moving one behind each other to save energy. After this spectacle, we had a closer look at the island itself also spotting some Night Light Jellyfish along the way.

We planned to visit our penguins next, but the ocean had another plan instore for us. As we made our way over The Clyde, we spotted a breach in the distance and decided to pick up speed. With this decision, we were rewarded again and again, as two young Humpback Whales gave us the show of our lives. Breaching, Flipper Slapping and Lobtailing, these gentle giants really pulled out all the stops to ensure that we would have memories to last a lifetime. They also seemed to be having a whale of a time, and as time moved on, they became increasingly curious about our boat.

Eventually, they decided that they would come a little closer. This was to the absolute elation of all aboard. The grace of their movements left us all in absolute awe. Moving effortlessly in the water column, turning and twirling below us like ballerinas, these whales were as enamored by us as we were them. They came back again and again, surfacing right next to us or travelling just below in the clear blue water. Scientists might attribute this to the inborn curiosity of mammals, but as I guide, I firmly believe that these sentient beings have chosen to share in a moment with us, fully aware and accepting of who and what we are. I have seen many incredible things in nature over the years, but animals choosing to engage with us people will always be my favourite.

These whales eventually allowed us to move off and out the area, so we left with our feelings of wonder and stopped by our seals to watch them do some tricks of their own. Our trip finished with the sighting of some African Penguins on Dyer Island, before we decided to head back to port.

Today's Best Snaps.

There are few things more spectacular than 40 tons flying through the air.

It was incredible to have some lobtailing too.

Lobtailing could be communication, but it could also be some fun.

Can you see the rainbow?

We had some beautiful half breaches.

Some more lobtailing

This whale had his eyes open during some of the breaching.

We don’t often get to see the eye of the whale, so this is always special.

Zoom in and you’ll be able to see the eye here.

We also got a few incredible full breaches.

These individuals looked to be sub adults.

When fully grown, the flippers of a Humpback Whale can be one third of the body weight.

Breaching is said to be done for reasons such as communication, parasite removal and fun.

Falling back in after a full breach.

Here the whale is breaching with a Shy Albatross in the background.

Some flipper action.

Another gorgeous lobtail.

Showing off those beautiful ballerina flippers, the longest of all the whales in the world.

It almost looks like they’re painting when they lift their tails.

These whales seemed to be having an awesome time messing around in the water.

A more typical look at the whales.

A half hearted breach.

A different angle to a lobtail.

The moment the whales decided to check us out.

coming in for a closer look that lasted 10 minutes!

Can you see the white of both whales right next to the boat?

surfacing right next to us.

It’s really not often that Humpbacks check us out. These two kept turning under the boat, moving with such elegance.

Jono and the Whale.

Some scale to show just how close these animals came.

looking at the boat.

The second whale is just in front of the footprint.

Terrible lighting, but can you see the whale below the surface?

A White Chinned Petrel eating a Cuttlefish.

A beautiful look at a Copper Shark over at Slashfin.

A Copper Shark with his head out the water.

Thousands and thousands of Cape Cormorants descending on the ocean.

The birds went out fishing in a megaflock today.

A closer look at the beautiful Cape Cormorants.

Cape Fur Seals in Shark Alley.

Geyser Rock.

The Penguins of Dyer Island.


Topics: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Written by

Jax Bath Guide

Jax has been guiding for Dyer Island Cruises since 2015, quickly becoming famous for the excitable shouts coming from her direction every time we see incredible wildlife (which is often!).

Jax's profile
Jax Bath

What species did we see today?

What do you think about this? Let us know:

Whale Watching in South Africa - Book Today!

We share news and blog articles from across our various wildlife tours and Marine Big 5 adventures. If you want to experience South Africa's incredible marine wildlife for yourself, don't hesitate to get in touch!

Book directly with us online to receive a FREE video of your trip!

Book now or Call: +27(0)82 801 8014