Whale Season 2015 Starts Soon – Walker Bay – Gansbaai Whale Viewing – South Africa
The time will soon be upon us when Southern Right whales start to arrive, our whale season starts in June and ends towards the later part of December.
Every year hundreds of Southern Right Whales start their migration having feasted in the rich feeding grounds of the Atlantic, towards our warm waters off the coast of South Africa.
This journey is made for one reason only, to give birth to their off springs from the previous year’s visit and whales that have come of age look to mate or impregnate new females of age.
Through the season we experience different behavioral pattern, firstly the bulls arrive full of testosterone on the hunt for willing cows to mate with, in the later part of the season the bulls move on having had there wicked way with the females, leaving calf cow pairs.
The calf’s are like naughty teenagers wanting to learn all they can about the world, and often our boat attracts the attention of the youngsters and they put on a fabulous show of tail slapping and spy hopping (head raised out the water).
Check out this sighting of a Southern Right whale’s penis, this action normally takes place below the water but this young male was insistent on showing off his manhood last year.
Boat Based Whale Watching is a permitted industry with only 17 operators being permitted along the whole of the South African Coastline. Any vessel found approaching whales inside 300mtrs that is not permitted will find themselves in very deep water.
“The Ivanhoe” is permitted to approach up to 50mts at “NO” wake speed, our skipper then puts the engines in neutral to allow the whales to decide if they wish to interact with us.
Before we can even get to that point the Ivanhoe team have to prepare for the launch of the new season. The staff and crew have all their qualifications checked and updated, first aid, firefighting at sea, and life preservation at sea.
We take our job seriously, below is a photo of the recent sea firefighting course our crew members attended – Passenger safety is paramount!
It’s not just the staff that are updated and checked, “The Ivanhoe” also undergoes a strict inspection by SAMSA (South African Martine Safety Authority) , who visits and inspects the vessels sea-worthiness, the hull, compass accuracy, life rafts, flares, safety equipment and life jackets to name but a few from over a 40 point check list. We also have a full service of the engines, steering and gearboxes performed by a local Yamaha agent.
Once all the preseason work is completed and we make our final application to the Department of Environmental Affairs for our yearly permit, we are then ready to launch on the arrival of the whales.
Our trips last 2hrs and although every trip is never the same, we do guarantee finding whales in main season Aug/Sep/Oct/Nov, this is a glimpse of what we want our guests to see!