Magnificent humback whales

August 16, 2012 by dyertrust

The humpback whales have been magnificent this July! By passing through the area as cargo trains they blew our minds in how precise and predicable they re-surface. It has been an absolutely pleasure to track them from the water tower!

Another great pleasure is that the southern right whales have been observed on each and every tracking trip from the end of July. So we can say for sure that they have returned to the area for the season.

At the end of the month Emma Fitzmaurice Vestergaard, 0ur new volunteer arrived from Denmark. She will be with us for 4 months. Emma is already a great part of the team and cracks data like a machine. Peet Botes left after spending his 3 weeks of his Uni-holiday with us. Peet was of great help particularly on the whale watching boat, where many guests benefitted from his passionately talks about the amazing wildlife in our area. Thank you Peet for your help.

One of the big highlights of the month was the establishment of a rental toilet at the base of the water tower! Not onlyhave the days sometimes been long at the top of the tower but they have also been a bit extra nerve-wracking climbing down after a full tracking day of 8 hours with out access to a toilet.

The new level of comfort was celebrated with the favorite Danish tortoise chocolates Toms skildpadder. The little blue life-saviour was named space-craft due to its looks. Upon arrival it was equipped with a lock and it was safely moored to the ground, as the winds can be harsh at Pearly Beach. The space-craft is rented from Overberg Scaffold & Machine hire in Gansbaai.

The winter weather beat usup withone storm after the other, so the tracking team has also spend a few days on land getting the local public at Pearly Beach more involved in the project. Dedicated locals are now reporting sightings of dolphin species in the area.

Two days which had been long awaited for was when the Wilderness Wildlife Safari arrived with an exclusive team of photographers. Their goal was to get images of the whales after they had been spending dedicated time in False Bay with the sharks and in Botswana with everything from lions chasing leopards to well fed crocodiles.

The Whale Whisperer set out on a marine-safari on two stunning weather days where the sea was as calm as on a summer day The photographers was challenged and entertained by acrobatic southern right whales breaching more than 10 times right next to the boat and a steamtrain of 3 humpback whales breaking the surface 4-5 times ending off with showing their huge flukes and disappearing before the next spectacular surfacing event just after 6 minutes -This ensured that the photo team achieved unique pictures of these impressive animals!

As part of the visit a special photoclub evening was held at Grootbos, where Chris McLennan and Dana Allen shared their experience and stunning pictures with the local photoclub from Gansbaai. (SeeOwner of Marine Dynamics Shark Tours, Dyer Island Cruises Whale Watching and founder of Dyer island Conservation Trust, Wilfred Chivell, was rewarded for his conservation efforts this week when receiving the Overstrand Mayors Annual Environmental Conservation Award.

Wilfred is raising the bar in a competitive shark cage diving industry that could be used solely for commercial gain and at personal cost to Wilfred, both companies are leaders, using the time spent at sea to benefit the understanding of the marine environment and actively facilitating research.

Wilfred Chivell is a visionary creating employment, supporting the community in various ways and putting profits into research, conservation and education. Passionate about animals, especially marine animals, Wilfred has invested all his time into various projects and ideas that are aimed at protecting the valuable marine environment and understanding and protecting the animal species.

Projects include the African penguin housing project aimed at improving fledgling success; the support of great white shark research that includes a tagging and tracking programme; support of whale and dolphin studies; community education; addressing marine pollution through the unique fishing line bin project among others. Working together with Universities and other conservation organizations a really unique business model has been created with the companies actively fund raising for the efforts coordinated through the Trust. Wilfred appreciates the support of the Municipality in recognising his efforts.
The call for nominations was made by Whale Coast Conservation organisation. The award is for an individual or an organisation that has made an exceptional contribution to environmental conservation within the Overstrand Municipal area. Criteria include creativity, innovation and effort; impact, effectiveness and sustainability; inspirational, educational and/or scientific value and level of community involvement. Nominations received were of a high standard with the real winner being the environment.