Coast KZN

18 Oct 2018

Close encounters with the gentle giants of the deep

Berno Phillipson (Zululand Observer) Picture: This season has seen magnificent Humpback Whale activity (Photo: Berno Phillipson)

This season’s whale watching has been like none other

Each and every year, Humpback Whales migrate from their feeding grounds in the Antarctic to the warm equatorial waters to mate and give birth.

In St Lucia we start seeing the whales in June, and the sightings continue until the end of November.

Although Humpback Whales are the species seen most frequently in our waters, this season we have also seen Minke, Southern Right and Pigmy Killer Whales.

Many bird lovers join the trips for possible encounters with Indian Yellow-nosed and Grey-headed albatrosses, Shearwaters and many more other pelagic birds.

This season we have seen huge numbers of mother and calf pairs of Humpback Whales as they come into the local bay to rest.

Often joining them in the bay are pods of Bottlenose Dolphins.

The whale season in the St Lucia and Richards Bay areas have become very popular and the good news is that whale numbers are increasing with each passing year.

This season started with the normal small pods moving into the area, and the pre-mating activities saw breaching whales like never before.

Whale numbers exploded and even operators were amazed at the sheer numbers thy saw.

You could look in any direction and see whales blowing or playing.

This came as a boost for visitors, as the time normally spent searching was done away with and it meant more quality time in the presence of these gentle giants.