Whale watching at Port St Johns - A standing ovation
The experience was like a theatrical performance, beginning as soon as our boat made it past the breakers. First to take the stage were the Cape Gannets, airborne acrobats hovering and diving for their breakfast. Gannets can submerge themselves as deep as 30 metres to grab sardines and other bait fish. And then – dolphins!! Dolphins as numerous as impala in the Kruger Park. I gasped as a large bottlenose dolphin flung itself from the wake of our boat. There were common dolphins too, that synchronise their breeding when food is plentiful, so the water was full of youngsters, which, amazingly, can keep up with the pod from birth.
A large oval shape moved just below the water… what was it? "A turtle, probably a Hawksbill", said Rob, Captain of the boat. Even before the Grand Finale, my head was spinning, tipsy from the waves and all the excitement. In the distance, a large spray of water erupted and we made our way closer to the whales. Altogether we spotted about 5 or 6 Humpbacks. Two of them came really close to the boat, curious and completely at ease with our presence. "Look!... under the boat!" I exclaimed. The whales swam right beneath us. We marvelled at their dreamlike shapes gliding and sailing through the clear water. "This is something really special," said Rob. "Every whale has a different character and it’s not every day that they come so close to the boat." I gaped at their powerful tails, the knobbly bumps on their bodies and how a creature could be so huge yet so graceful. I would have loved to jump off and swim with them!
Offshore Africa Port St Johns run daily whale watching trips - the best time to go is during the sardine run in the winter months.
Contact Rob: 084 9511325 or Debbie: 082 256 9414 (www.offshoreportstjohns.com)
Photo: Bottlenose dolphins move incredibly quickly through the water which makes them very difficult to photograph! I just caught the fin of this bottlenose on my iPhone. © Rachel Lang
Guest Blog by Rachel Lang