It is an exciting time of the year in our Algoa Bay as the whale season approaches.
The humpback and the southern right whale species make their way to our shores on their annual migration between May and December each year. The southern right whales travel from their cold feeding grounds off Antarctica with their food reserves stocked to our warmer waters to calve and mate.
The Alan Tours office faces what is called the ‘Wildside’ of the Port Elizabeth coastline and is the perfect crow’s nest to spot whales. Even though this part of the ocean is not sheltered by the bay, and sometimes is a raging force, many sightings of whales breaching, lobtailing and spouting are seen each year.
In fact we can actually spot them from our desks! This is my first ‘whale season’ with Alan Tours and as the temperature drops in our south-facing office, I’ve noticed that Angelika, while toiling away behind the computer, keeps the ocean in her peripheral view, with binoculars close at hand. On the 19th of May Angelika suddenly jumped out of her chair with a squeal. As a total novice, I naively thought she had hurt herself or something, but no, she had spotted the first whale of the season!
The Indian Ocean feeds the coastal nook of Algoa Bay and due to its shape, is sheltered, not submitting to the major riptides and waves that sometimes characterise wilder parts of the coastline. Whales favour these sheltered waters, especially to calve and so it is ideal for boat-based whale watching which can be experienced on our Big 7 Safari options. The southern right whale along with the great white shark makes up the Big 7 with the terrestrial Big 5. We are fortunate enough to have the only reserve to boast the Big 7 on our doorstep; Addo Elephant National Park. With Alan Tours one is able to visit Big 7 territory all in a day or over a few days and this time of the year being the best to see the most colossal member of the group.
Although I prefer summer with longer days and the hot sun, I am really looking forward to the exciting whale season from the office and out in the Bay.
Words by Carmen, photographs by Angelika