Hello all, just to introduce myself – I’m Hannah the lucky Edge of Africa volunteer currently on placement with Ocean Odyssey in Knysna. I can’t believe that I am already well into my second week, time is disappearing so quickly, in an amazing blur of stunning coastline and breath taking whale and dolphin sightings.
You may have seen a few of my photos already posted online, but they really cannot do justice to the beauty of the ocean and scenery here. I have been out on the water most days (weather permitting) and each and every trip has been wonderfully different. I am feeling very lucky!
The team have been fantastic, sharing all their knowledge and experience to help make my time here as memorable as possible. I was so impressed on a trip last week when the skipper stopped the boat to pick up a single plastic bottle floating in the ocean – a clear demonstration of the team commitment and enthusiasm for protecting and valuing the ocean.
The water here is crystal clear and the shoreline is rugged and wild, interspersed with long, golden, sandy beaches. The migrating Humpback whales are obviously a huge draw, but I have also seen many of the rare Bryde’s whales, large pods of off shore Common dolphins, in-shore feeding Humpback dolphins, a sun fish, seals and many species of sea bird.
It is hard to describe my excitement at seeing my first Humpback whale up close, it really was a magical feeling, but each subsequent sighting has also been incredibly special. The whales move through the water with such grace, breaking the water to breathe and if you are lucky show a tail flick or more boisterous manoeuvre. Many of the Humpback whales are mothers migrating south with their calves, but there are also single and small groups of adults passing by.
Yesterday I was out on the boat with Dr Vic Cockcroft (internationally recognised marine mammal specialist) and witnessed an amazing display. A juvenile was having what can only be described as ‘a whale of a time’ in the sunshine – rolling and splashing in the water, throwing in the occasional leap and huge splash back to the water .It looked such fun!
What I have learnt over the last week is that you never know what you will see when you leave the shore, but each and every trip has been amazing.