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Whales

Find, identify & discuss the marine species of SANParks
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Guinea Pig
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Whales

Unread postby Guinea Pig » Wed Dec 07, 2005 4:43 pm

At last a thread for one of my fav creatures! 8)

Let me start off with a question I've always wanted to ask.
what is the best time od year and the best SANPark to see them?
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Unread postby arks » Wed Dec 07, 2005 8:40 pm

lam wrote:From Tsitsikamma National Park you have good chance of seeing humpbacks (September to November), but the southern cape, Hermanus and the surrounding area is the place to go to see Southern Rights. De Hoop is probably a good place to go, but it isn't SANP.


What about Cape Point? I think I've read about whale sightings from there?

Best way to see whales, though, is from a whale watch cruise (do they do those from Hermanus?) or better yet, really close up from your own sailboat :D 8)
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Unread postby Guinea Pig » Wed Dec 07, 2005 8:53 pm

gwendolen wrote:The best place to see whales in SA is in Hermanus. I saw them there in August. Terrific experience. But it's not SANParks related. :?


Same here on the KZN South Coast. :lol: I'm actually curious about Addo as this Park is high on my list of to do's. Apparently they are seen from there?
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Unread postby Jay » Wed Dec 07, 2005 9:01 pm

If you drive along the road from Cape Town to Cape Point in October/November you will see whales, apparently awesome this year, and that is Table Mountain National Park, well the undisturbed areas anyway :wink:

We lived in Simonstown when I was a child, we would sit on the stoep and watch the whales do "belly flops" :D

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Unread postby Guinea Pig » Wed Dec 07, 2005 9:08 pm

A bit of nothingness on whales:

Whales were probably once land mammals and their bodily functions have close resemblances to that of land mammals. They have to hold their breath under water, some whales manage this for an astounding 45 minutes. :shock: The spray so associated with whales forms when the air that's been contained for such a long time under pressure heats up and on being forcibly expelled through the blowhole into colder air condensates into a column of vapour 12 to 15 ft high.
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Unread postby Guinea Pig » Wed Dec 07, 2005 9:45 pm

leopardspotter wrote:There is also a very nice veiw-point at the West Coast National Park, were you can see them!!


Where? Where? :pray:

In all the years we've going to St Helena and Stompneus we've never seen whales. Ok, must be in the open ocean - so neither of those or Langebaan are suitable.
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Unread postby lam » Thu Dec 08, 2005 8:23 am

Guinea Pig wrote:I'm actually curious about Addo as this Park is high on my list of to do's. Apparently they are seen from there?


The whales you see from Addo will most likely be humpbacks. October-November would be the most likely time. The problem with humpbacks is they mostly breed off Mozambique. When they are outside our house, they are on the move. We see whales every few days, but usually only for a 10-20 minute period and fairly far out. Binoculars are needed. I don't mind this, but for someone looking for a close-up, dramatic sighting, that you might get at Hermanus, it could be a bit disappointing.

Perhaps they hang around Bird Island longer than they do outside our house?

Does anyone know about any boat tours off Port Elizabeth or Sundays River?

My best whale sighting ever was in Mozambique, watching a mother teach a baby how to slap its tail. Whale babies are just as uncoordinated as human babies.
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Unread postby Salva » Thu Dec 08, 2005 9:46 pm

We did a boat trip from Plettenberg on 22/11. We saw 1 humpback passing by. Awesome experience. The guide - biologist told they were at that time allready passing for about 2 weeks and they would continue to do so for another two weeks.

That evening I saw a humpback in the bay from my room. I first thought it was a southern right because he was so close to the shore but when I saw his back with my binocs I could clearly see it was a humpback.

We also saw southern right twice. Once at De Hoop, about an hour after the guard at the gate told us they were probably gone. It was a mother with a calf and the calf was jumping all the time.

From the Kelders (imho much better and a million times less busy than Hermanus) I could see one southern right.

I don't think there are any southern rights left in South African waters by now.

The sad thing is that the Japanese this year sent out a fleet of 44 vessels to hunt for whales and they wait for them, it seems, just out South African waters since they're not protected over there any more. This is an enormous fleet and I wonder how much of these magnificent creatures the japs are going to slaughter this time. :evil:

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Unread postby pbsouthwood » Sat Dec 31, 2005 8:18 am

Guinea Pig wrote:In all the years we've going to St Helena and Stompneus we've never seen whales. Ok, must be in the open ocean - so neither of those or Langebaan are suitable.


I did a West Coast Cruise some years ago (about this time of the year) and we saw large numbers of Southern Rights in St helena Bay. It was a dead flat and windless day and we were motoring towardsthe open ocean at a couple of knots when we were surrounded by whales. Must have been a couple of dozen, all swimming along slowly in the same direction. We stopped for a while but later started up again as we needed to get to the wind round the corner. Some came pretty close to the boats.
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Unread postby Caracal » Sun Dec 03, 2006 6:23 pm

Please help .....I saw a whale out at sea from Storms River Rest Camp, Tsitsikamma on Friday 24th November. It was quite far out at sea but was moving at a very rapid rate. it seemed to be rolling around and around. I know for definite that it was not a southern right whale......not sure whether it was a humpback or Killer whale. The whale seemed to be black and white and had longish flippers that seemed to be darker on the one side than the other. We watched it for quite a while through binoculars. It was frolicking quite a lot and but didn't really jump out of the water. Once or twice I saw the head briefly and knew that it wasn't a southern right whale. Seen many of those here in Cape Town and Hermanus......anybody like to help me out here???? I hate seeing something and not know for sure what it is ???

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Good whale watching sites

Unread postby Seahorse » Sun Dec 03, 2006 10:45 pm

I think we are very lucky in the RSA because we have so many sites where you can see cetaceans.
The Knysna Plettenberg bay tsitsikamma complex has excellent whale spotting sites.
We often see whales and dolphins from Storms river restcamp i Tsitsikamma .
Another nice place is the Plett Bay where there is a resident school of Bottlenoses and where you can often see Brydes and Southern rights, both from shore as well as from the whale watching boats.
The coastline around Knysna also have some great spots on land. ( Eastern Heads, Brenton on sea, Buffels bay)
We saw six Humpbacks on Friday just offshore from Brenton and Buff bay.Two females with calves and four others. One HUGE male.
On the same trip , just off the Backpackers ,we saw a school of Common dolphins working with some Gannets. I guess that there were about six hundred or more of the. They were real showmen. Jumping out of the water and surfing the bow waveand splashing the boat.
The map of Africa viewpoint and Dolphin point on the Kaaimans pass are also fantastic land based spots to see the passing whales.
We were also able to see the odd Killer whale, False killer whales and Risso's dolphins
The best time for spotting Southern rights are well advertised, but the Humpbacks usually follow quite a bit later in the year.
Brydes and Sei whales are spotted almost year round along the Garden route coast line.
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Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Thu Dec 21, 2006 12:03 pm

To add more nothing to Guinea Pig's
nothingness on whales
- all whales have belly buttons! The Blue Whale has a heart the size of a small family car. An adult human being will be able to crawl through the BW's aorta!

Below this line the post is slightly elevated. If you only want nothing, don't read any further! :twisted:

The Blue Whale is the largest animal that ever graced the face of the earth. The largest specimen ever caught (harpooned) was a similar size as a Boeing jet aircraft! They feature along our coastline too, but because their numbers have been so decimated by whalers during the first half of the previous century, spotting one is a very rare occurrence. It is estimated that there are about 19 000 individuals living in the world's temperate oceans today as opposed to +/- 350 000 in the pre-whaling days.
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Unread postby DuQues » Tue Feb 26, 2008 1:56 pm

Whales do sleep! Slightly less than the giraffe at 7.1% (giraffe 8%), but still...

Have a read and look at the video here: Sleeping sperm whales found
Not posting much here anymore, but the photo's you can follow here There is plenty there.

Feel free to use any of these additional letters to correct the spelling of words found in the above post: a-e-t-n-d-i-o-s-m-l-u-y-h-c

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Unread postby DuQues » Thu May 15, 2008 11:40 am

New bit of information, whales are fast too! Not really the lazy, slowmoving animals all thought, but:
The cetaceans even use the same, highly specialised hunting strategy that cheetahs use, scientists report in the Journal of Animal Ecology.
(...)
Tags showed the whales take just 15 minutes to dive to depths of 800m to 1,000m (0.6 mile), and more.

And when they pinpoint their prey, the whales surge after it, reaching speeds of nine metres per second, or 32 kilometres per hour (20mph). What's more, they may keep up the sprint for 200m (650ft), before either catching the prey or giving up the chase.

See the link!
Not posting much here anymore, but the photo's you can follow here There is plenty there.

Feel free to use any of these additional letters to correct the spelling of words found in the above post: a-e-t-n-d-i-o-s-m-l-u-y-h-c


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