15 C
Mossel Bay
12th Aug 2022
Community & LivingNature & NurtureUncategorised

Time for Whale Watching

What wonderful weather and what whale watching from our coastal road at Reebok this past month!
The whales that we see close to shore are usually Southern Right Whales, so named because in the days of whaling they were considered the right whale to hunt because they remained afloat once harpooned. This nearly led to their extinction by 1935. They come to our shallow waters to calve and to mate for the following season and don’t usually feed here.
When we see a Humpback Whale it is usually further out to sea as they migrate from the oceans off Antarctica up to their breeding and calving grounds off the east and west coasts of Africa. They also don’t usually feed in our waters.
Some distinctive differences between the Southern Right and the Humpback can be seen in the illustrations. They are both huge, averaging 14m in length and 40 tons in weight. The Southern Right is predominantly black except for some white patches on its belly and back and the rough white callosities on its head. It has no fin on its back, has relatively short, wide flippers and its tail is black. The Humpback is black with a white underside, has a small fin on its back, has long black and white flippers and its tail is black and white. It also has grooves running along the underside of the head and belly. The other distinctive difference is that the blow from the Southern Right is V shaped and the Humpback has a single, broad blow.
Fortunately for us both species are protected in South African waters and this has resulted in an increase in both populations and a lot more opportunity for whale watching for us!

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