Whale watching is a very popular activity all along the South African coast. One of the best places to do this has to be Plettenberg Bay situated along the amazing Garden Route.
On a recent trip up this gorgeous stretch of coastline, we decided to do a whale watching trip with Ocean Blue which is situated right across from the Beacon Island Hotel at main beach.
Our aquatic adventure started at the Ocean Blue shop where we were all given life jackets and a quick safety briefing. Once we were all ready we set off on a short walk to the beach. The boats are kept out of the water and relaunched for every trip - an experience all on its own!
The boat was sitting on a trailer on the beach with a big tractor hooked up behind. We were all directed to the left side of the boat where there was a ladder for us to safely climb aboard. Once everyone was safely seated the skipper explained to us what was going happen and the next thing the the skipper gave the go ahead to the tractor driver and off we went hurtling down the beach towards the ocean. Just as the boat got to the waters edge the tractor slammed
on the brakes and off we went sliding effortlessly into the water!
As we ventured out to see our skipper and guide told us a bit more about himself. A Plett local, when he is not working, he spends his time fishing, surfing and diving. You could tell he is very passionate about what he does and has a great love for the ocean and all that live in it.
Once we were clear of the beach and waves our skipper gave us a quick rundown of the what the plan was to be for out trip. Now one thing to remember
about whale watching is that it is never guaranteed that you will be lucky enough to see one of these great ocean giants and it is for this reason we highly recommend Plettenberg Bay and Ocean Blue as they will do their utmost to introduce you to a variety of creatures of the sea from whales, to sharks, dolphins and seals.
With a roar of the engines, we were off towards the Robberg peninsula, running fairly close to the beach. In front of us we could see a very big black shape under the water. We were told that this was the wreck if a fishing boat that had hit a rock at the point. The captain had managed to get it almost onto the beach where all the crew managed to get off safely.
The next thing we knew, the skipper pointed to the beach and just behind the
breaking waves was a shape in the water. It was a great white shark swimming toward the rocks! We followed it up to the peninsula and along the rocks for about 200 meters and then suddenly there was a second one almost right next to our boat. As we turned our heads we saw another shark and another one. We saw six great white sharks in total.
We continued our way up the peninsula with our skipper explaining all about the amazing coastline and its inhabitants. As we followed the steep rocky coast we arrived at large cape fur seal colony witch stretched almost half of the Robberg Peninsula with seals of all sizes. Even some small pups could be seen on the the cliff sides.
Our next destination was outside of the bay into the open ocean to see if we could spot some whales. We spent quite some time out there looking for that spout of water that signifies a whale but unfortunately it was not our day. With that we were off again following the migratory route of the whales, hoping to be lucky, but time was running out and it was time to head back into the bay.
Now if you thought the launching of the boat sounded like fun, the landing on the beach is even better. So there we were at the end of our adventure sitting just behind the breaking waves of main beach. Our skipper gave a quick explanation of what was going to happen and then we were ready and waiting for the next set of waves to take us in. With the roar of the motors we were off towards the beach. We came over the back of the wave and where placed safely back on the beach!
Definitely a day to remember!
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This the biggest of animal migrations in the world. The sardine run, is totally wild unpredictable event, that when it all comes together, as it does for three months annually, the sardine run is the most spectacular wildlife spectacle on the planet; dolphins, seals and whales whip the ocean surface into whitecaps, thousands of birds diving, whales lunge feeding through shoals scattering the fish. It is a twilight zone where time stands still and becomes meaningless, as you witness this amazing play of life and death unfolding.
If you are looking for a real African experience and adventure diving at its best, you’re unlikely to be disappointed!
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