Guide Summary and Photographs
With the new moon in the sky, our tides our still a bit haywire so we got to launch our first trip out of Gansbaai Harbour today. Although we had a bit of swell running through, the wind only picked up in the afternoon which made for a really pleasant voyage around Danger Point. We were lucky to find our whales pretty early in the trip, with a large mating group being the only thing causing any disturbance on an otherwise glossy ocean.
We often say that mating groups can consist of up to 10 individuals but it is not every day that we find so many Southern Rights in one spot. We got a lot of fluke and flipper action from this group, with one animal keeping its 2 tonne flippers up for minutes at a time. We all sat in awe as the animals move with each other. One thing that was pretty obvious from the start is that when these males are courting a female, there is absolutely no concept of personal space, the whales stayed almost on top of each other throughout the sighting, with a couple of strays moving in and out of this “Love fest”.
We found 2 more Southern Rights a little closer to shore only minutes later and got to watch these guys come up right in front of Danger Point lighthouse. This infamous area usually produces some magic sightings for us and today was no exception, with two stunning Shy Albatrosses and a White Chinned Petrel joining in on the fun. The Shy Albatross has a wingspan of up to 2.8m and these amazing birds can travel up to 10 000km in a flight. After taking in the sight of these pelagic seabirds and the whales, Geyser Rock was the next port of call.
We had a pleasant stop at the Cape Fur Seals although they were a little more pungent than usual today. The smell is not caused by the seals alone but also the stagnant pools of water on the island. Interestingly, we also got to see 2 African Penguins on this seal paradise. Although we have a pair of penguins breeding on the island, this is not the safest spit in the world for them as they may fall prey to a pesky Cape Fur Seal hungry for some fish.
Our second trip got to see 2 different species of shark, although both decided to stay a little deeper in the water column. A Great White was the first of the two to make a pass, going directly under us towards our vibrating engines. We had a Bronze Whaler do a few passes after this before we decided to go and look for some mammals.
We found our favourite kind just behind The Clyde, where a mother Southern Right and her little baby were cruising. After a couple of good views, we head a little closer to the beach where the action picked up. In addition to a couple of close encounters, we got to see 2 Southern rights breach multiple times!! Southern Rights are not as renowned for their breaching as the Humpbacks, but today they really put on a show for us, with one even exposing its tail flukes post breach! This was definitely the best breaching action of the year so far, and we hope to be seeing a bit more of this with a windy week ahead.
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