The Southern right whales are back
July 16, 2012 by dyertrust
Breaching humpback whales, feeding groups of Indo-pacific bottlenose dolphins and southern right whales returning for the season These are some of the amazing sightings the theodolite tracking team and the guests on the Whale Whisperer have been experiencing in June.
The theodolite tracking has been running smooth even though the winter is over us and the rough wind and rain have prevented the team to go out on several occasions but the team is tough and in the cold mornings with frost on the lawn they wrap up in gear as if they were going to Marion Island! Since the days are shorter at the moment the team track throughout the hours of daylight if the weather permits it.
Anita Hansen (Denmark) and Anna Skinnars (Sweden) have been the dedicated volunteers in June. They have been tracking many humpback whales migrating towards their mating and nursing grounds. From the tracking data it might be possible to establish if the humpback whales are heading towards the West coast or to the East coast.
The southern right whales are back! -Finally after many months where we have been longing for the sound and vision of the gentle giants. At the end of June we saw them almost on every theodolite tracking day. The amount of animals we have seen and the consistency is very similar to what is normally observed in July, so they seem to be back early and in high numbers.
After 6 weeks unfortunately Anita had to return to Scandinavia for other adventures, but she will return next year she learned more about fieldwork and managing projects from being in South Africa than she ever did at the university.
Anna will stay at least until December as she says I have to experience the wonderful SA summer after surviving the never ending cold winter!
Besides Anna, Peet Botas (South Africa) arrived in the beginning of July. Peet is spending his winter holiday helping out as a very dedicated volunteer. They are both being trained in theodolite tracking, analysing ID-pictures of dolphins and handling large amounts of data. Both volunteers have also been out at sea with our whale watching boat The Whale Whisperer where they encountered the southern right whales up close. Anna said when they returned Gosh -The size of these animals! One thing is to see them from the shore, but being next to them on the boat blows your mind!
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