We had perfect weather today when we set out on the first tour of the day, launching from Gansbaai Harbour due to the full moon. The full moon causes the low tide to be a little lower than usual, so sometimes we have a change of scenery, heading over to Gansbaai and making our way around Danger Point.
Trip 1 started off with a Cow Calf pair of Southern Right Whales, who were slowly travelling along the shoreline. After these whales took a deeper dive, we resumed our traveling and then to our delight, caught up with a Humpback Whale. We are seeing mostly Southern Right Whales at this point during the season, so we’re always excited to get to see another species. This Humpback was also moving along, so we were lucky to see the fluke twice as it went a little deeper down. We can identify whales using the back of their flukes, as each tail is unique.
We decided then to hang around the area for a bit, waiting a few minutes before a single adult Southern Right Whale popped up. This animal was very relaxed, moving closer and closer and doing some rolling around on the way. Once the whale was about 20m away, he started to show off a bit, picking up a piece and kelp and putting it on its head. This is one of the coolest things we get to see here, as the whale is just enjoying itself and fooling around. After watching him for a bit, we decided to slowly move the boat, but he was not quite done showing us his toy, so he followed. We also got to see a Cape Fur Seal and 2 juvenile African Penguins hanging in the same vicinity. On the way back in the harbour, we passed by the sight of the sinking of the HMS Birkenhead. We also spotted a Shy Albatross and a Giant Petrel.
Our second tour started off with some incredible breaching whales, with 3 different animals launching themselves out the water. We got to spend some time with a remarkable calf who had an interesting blaze running from his chin down his belly. We had a fantastic time watching this baby breach again and again and he even came a bit closer to the boat to give us a nice look at him. We then began travelling towards Geyser Rock where our Cape Fur Seal colony were up to their usual mischief. We watched them for a while before heading back to port to pick up our final group of clients.
Trip 3 started off with a few pairs of Southern Right Whale moms and babies who were hanging around in the shallow waters close to the scenic white beaches of Franskraal. We had a mom with some white patches on her back, and she was super cool to watch as she moved slowly along with her baby. We got to see them come up in the swell and around the same time we also had a lovely approach from a mom and calf on the left hand side of the boat. This mom was also quite distinct with grey patches on her back, something we associate mostly with the female whales. We went on to see some large rafts of African Penguins and the seals of Geyser Rock.