September Whale Blog

October 16, 2012 by dyertrust

marine volunteersThe theodolite tracking is running like a well-oiled machine and the team has seen sightings of humpback whales almost every week. These animals seem to have changed focus from migration to social behaviour. They spend much more time breaching and their pattern is not as predicable as the migrating humpback whales in July and August.

helpful green snakeA new addition has permanently joined the tracking station at the water tower. A bright green snake has moved in on the rail!! The team put it there to prevent the local white necked crows from decorating the top of the tower and attracting countless tiny flies.

September was the month where the southern right whale mother-calf pairs moved into the bay while the mating groups decreased. Maria Johansen joined the team at the beginning of the month. She is here until the beginning of December conducting a small study of the interaction of the mother and calf pairs. We welcome Maria who is a dedicated biology student from the University of Copenhagen.

dict stand at hermanus whale festivalSeptember marks the yearly event of the Whale Festival in Hermanus! For the team it involved public talks, manning the Dyer Island Conservation Trust stand, helping out at the childrens tent with colouring books, and exploring the festival many attractions. The atmosphere at the festival was amazing this year, even with less than ideal weather on the Friday and Saturday and people came from far away to celebrate the whales.

Another notable event was the 4-day International Aquarium Conference hosted by The Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town. As part of the conference the delegates went out with either Slashfin for a shark cage dive or a whale watching trip with the Whale Whisperer.

tracking deviceReturning to the project, the team has been spending dedicated time assessing the locations and mooring of the acoustic loggers, and we are now just waiting for consecutive calm weather days to progress further.

Perhaps the highlight of the month, however, was a flight with African Wings! A completely different and truly astonishing way to view the whales in the bay! Evan Austin took us flying for 1 hour allowing us to witness Dyer Island, Slashfin at sea, Kleinbaai harbour, Gansbaai and the unforgettable Walker evan austins planeBay with all the whales. It is the best way to experience and understand the behaviour of the mating groups, as well as the mother and calves. Evans 4-seater Cessna 175 is ideal for the task since it does not scare the whales, and from 1000 Feet we could still see every detail on the whales. Evan is an extraordinary pilot, friendly and professional, with an infectious passion for the area and the animals.

Please, if you are looking for an experience of a lifetime - now is the time to contact Evans and go and see the whales from the air!

southern right whales

Remember to keep an eye on the Dyer Island Whale and Dolphin project Facebook page: www.facebook.com/WhalesDolphins