Whale spotting in Hermanus

Every year I wait in anticipation for the notices on Facebook of the Southern right whales coming into the bay in Hermanus.
Every year, I am determined that this is the year that I time it right and finally spot a few whales. I troll the relevant Facebook groups and keep an eye out for who has seen whales. My one and only goal, is to be able to stand on the promenade, looking out into the blue Grey horizon of the bay area and spot a whale playing amidst the waves.

My journey so far

So far, Brent and I have jumped into the car and traveled the full 150km to this little coastal town on numerous occasions.
We love the coastal drive as we wind our way around the mountain roads of the Whale coast and head towards the sleepy town of Hermanus.
But, as has been our fate up until now, we haven’t seen a single whale playfully frollicking in the surf.

Sunday drive

So, it was with no real expectation that I packed us a picnic on Sunday and we jumped in the car.
Hamish was beyond excited, his binoculars were packed, he had googled all about whale migration and was thoroughly convinced that he was going to see whales.
I didn’t want to dampen his spirits, thinking I would just explain to him that if we first see any how sometimes they are swimming too far out, and we soon, bundled in his infectious enthusiasm, found ourselves caught up in the excitement of going to see the whales.

Whales in the bay

The last thing I expected, was to spot the whales from the parking lot as we drive in.
Brent pointed and Hamish yelled. I climbed out of the car with an overly excited Hamish who ran straight for the promenade to see the whales in the water.
We came across a pod of about 9 or 10 whales. Some babies and adults.
They teased us with their flippers and tales submerging occasionally as we humans cheered from the shore. Every so often a whale a little further out let out a jet stream of water through its blowhole and the crowd was once again alive with chattering and pointing in the whale’s directions.

Beauty is often ocean deep

Hamish’s reaction was beyond excited and he has since told everyone about the whales that he saw.
I loved watching the whales but I realised as I got home and looked at the photos that my inner adventurer, whilst over the moon excited that I finally spotted the whales in the bay, actually wants to get better photos now.
I think my next visit is going to have to be on a whale cruise out to get closer to watching these magnificent mammals.

Whale cruises in Hermanus

I found the following list of boats that do whale spotting. These will definitely give you a closer look at the whales during whale season. I’m going to ensure that we book for a trip out to sea next season.
( As of yet, I’ve not personally used them but they seem to have good reviews online)
1. Southern right Charters
2. Hermanus whale watchers
3. Whale viewing charters
4. Whalewatchsa
5. Hylton Ross
You can also contact Hermanus tourist bureau oR Hermanus Tourism for more information.

About the Southern right whale

The Southern Right Whale live in the Southern Hemisphere, thus how it was given its name.
The Southern Right Whales are baleen whales, which means that instead of teeth it has long plates that hang over their jaws.
The head of a Southern Right is much hairier than most other whales and it also has a series of horny growths behind the blowhole, on the chin, above the eyes, on the lower lip, and on the beak-like upper jaw.
The Southern Right Whale is very rich in blubber and has 2 blowholes, giving a very distinct V shaped cloud of water that it spurts when it breathes out.
Southern Right Whale females are about 16.5m long and males are about 15.2m long.
A Southern Right Whale’s skin is usually black with white with brown patches. Southern Right Whale calves are blue to grey coloured when born.
Southern Right Whales are carnivores that filter feed zooplankton from the water. They swim slowly with their mouth open, constantly eating.
The Southern Right Whale is a migratory Whale, which means that they spend one season in one place and the rest of the year in another, and travel long distances between these seasons.
Calving is thought to occur only every 3 to 5 years. A single young is born after a gestation period of 12 months and within a year, the calf is weaned and independent.  Most calves are born during August.
Whale watching in Cape Town
The best time to spot the Southern Right is in early June when the Whales leave their Antarctic feeding ground and head for the warm waters of the Cape Coast.
In Hermanus, avid whale watchers can see the Southern Right Whale swimming and mating. Plettenberg Bay also boasts prime Whale viewing and the Southern Right Whale is around for the whole season.
Even if only once, taking the kids whale watching is a wonderful experience.

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