Friday 7 September 2012

Off to see Great White Sharks with Apex Expeditions

Hi all

Monique woke me at what appeared to be the middle of the night. It was still dark, the time was 5.00am. We all got aboard and departed Simons Town harbour just before first light. Monique said that all the Apex Crew and even the other guests on the boat were just as excited to have me on board and help me make the most of my experiences.

I asked why it was called False Bay and one of the crew told me that the name "False Bay" was used by sailors (at least three hundred years ago) who confused this bay with Table Bay whch is further to the north.

We were not the only ones active at this time of the morning. As the sun was just below the horizon and the sky was still a beautiful shade of early morning pink, we came across a school of about 400 common dolphins.
We could see large shoals of anchovy (fish) on the surface and this had obviously attracted the dolphin to the area. As our boat approached most of the school broke off to follow us in the wake of the boat. Everyone on board was very excited to see this beautiful scene. I have seen dolphins on my travels before but not hundreds in one place or so close to the boat.

As we looked towards Seal Island we were in for another surprise … 3 Southern Right Whales were relaxing on the surface just 1 mile from Seal Island. On our boat “White Pointer 2” we sat with our engines turned off, just a little way away from the group of whales. Within 10 minutes the whales were extremely relaxed and had moved very slowly towards us.
The crew found me a safe comfortable place to sit on the side of the boat where I would be close to the whales.

I enjoyed an amazingly close moment with the 3 Southern Right Whales. One of the whales even “spy hopped” right in front of us.
This is when a whale pokes its head out of the water to have a look around. Monique said that maybe the whale was just as curious about me!

Monique said that the Southern Right Whales migrate from Antarctica to the South African shores, arriving here in August/September each year. Whilst they feed in Antarctica their reason for travelling to South Africa is to use the safer shallow bays to breed and give birth to their calves.

I have seen acrobatic humpback whales in the Hawaiian Islands and Channel Islands in the US. But there is something very special about floating on a very still ocean listening to the whales calmly breathing in very loud spurts very close to us. They seemed quite happy with our company, something I will always remember.

Wow, so much excitement and we haven’t even seen a great white shark yet!

1 comment:

  1. I love this blog, it's cool. It really makes me come back for more. Thanks Steve, for sharing. More power to you.

    Alaska Bear Viewing