Whale watching in Hermanus

By 16:12

While planning my Garden Route Trip, The Whale Watchers kindly offered me a discounted rate on their whale trip. I have been wanting to see whales since last year when I holidayed in Cape Town in winter so I was pretty excited to go on this trip. In fact, it was probably the part of the Garden Route trip I looked forward to the most.

The briefing room

On their website, the Whale Watchers state that if you don't see any whales on a trip, they'll let you come back on another trip for free. So when we arrived at the new harbour in Hermanus for our 9am whale trip, I was a bit worried that we might not even see any whales. Our guide assured us that although it was almost the end of whale season, the bay was still filled with mother and calf pairs. 

That made me really excited and so we started on the briefing session where the guide told us all about the Southern Right whales that are popular in the bay, their anatomy and how to spot them. Pretty soon, we were on the boat jetting off to the bay. The waves were quite high but we were fine sitting in the bottom area of the boat. It took about 15 minutes to get to the bay and all the while, I was just enthralled by the stunning coastline and the amazing feeling of speeding through the ocean. When we stopped, we all went to the top of the boat to see if there were any whales nearby. Now the waves were pretty high so I tried to keep steady by sitting down.

Our guide showing us a whale's tooth during the briefing

The exciting walk to the harbour

That's our boat!

How awesome is that view!

I kept calling the mountains dirty :-). Looks quite dusty

Pretty soon, we were spotting whales and looking at them in awe. Big mommy whales were floating on the surface with baby whales nearby. We even saw some baby whales playing by jumping out of the waters closer to the shore. All the while, our guide told us more about the whales. I learnt that these whales usually mate in Hermanus and are pregnant for just over a year. During this time they migrate to the Antarctic. When they migrate back to the Hermanus area, they prepare to give birth and move to the bay where the waters are less rocky. When a mommy whale is ready to give birth, she is helped by a mid-wife whale who assists to carry the newborn calf to the surface to take his first breath of air. How cute is that! I thought we were the only animals that need birthing assistance. 

That black spot in the water is whale!

Another whale a little closer

Awww...a mother calf pair

We were given lots of stories and info like that while we were moving between whales or just staying in one spot watching a specific whale. The rockiness of the boat got too much for my boyfriend who needed to run to the side of the boat to throw up. The guide was so sweet and kept telling him that it's fine and that it happens all the time. He even got him some water and a brown paper bag for round 2. Lesson learnt: take motion sickness pills even if you think you don't them. 

Pretty soon, the hour was up and we were making our way back to the harbour with some complimentary chips and cooldrinks. Although the excitement of the whale watching was over, the ride back was pretty amazing too with spectacular views of the ocean and the shorelines. 

A cute seal statue at the harbour

I was really happy to have seen whales in their natural habitat. If you want to experience a whale trip, check out The Whale Watchers website and contact them. The whale trips are R650 per person and it is really important to book in advance as all the whale watching companies book out fast because of the amount of tourists in the Western Cape. I would also suggest going earlier than November so you can see a lot more of these marvelous giants.

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