Have you ever seen a whale in his wildlife swimming in the ocean…?
I can tell you , it is something really breathtaking !!! I believe that one cannot imagine what it means to see a blue whale out there in the sea…
My first whale and it was a blue whale was in 2009 in South Africa at
Cape of Good Hope .
As you know there are 2 oceans melting into each other at this place – the Atlantic Ocean on the one side and the Indian Ocean on the other side . For this reason the Cape of Good Hope is one of the most dangerous parts of the world for ships and boats as there are many very rough currents and winds at this location and this is the reason why it is a place where most of the ship wrecks are located .
It was directly at the edge of Cape of Good Hope when I was standing at the high cliffs of the national park , the sun was shining – I was super happy to be the first time in South Africa – a gorgeous country and nature and a great feeling to be at this other end of the world .
We enjoyed South Africa so much that any time I would like to visit and explore it again .
Yes , while I was standing at these high cliffs and looking down to this special coast with its rough waves clashing to the cliffs down there , I all of a sudden recognized something BIG down there on the water where first I thought that it is a kind of boat or a little ship …. but once I looked a little closer while it was moving to the open ocean I saw it spraying out some water – my God it was a whale who was moving there – Huge really Huge .
I could see the whole body under the surface of the water and its head coming out of the water as it needed to breathe and this was the moment when it was spraying some water into the height .
It was moving magnificently and it was simply awesome to watch this wonder of the world ! I could not believe my eyes as I never have seen such a big animal …
2009 was a very difficult year since we were going through a very difficult economical and financial environment with our customer not knowing what the near future will bring and a lot of other bad incidents throughout the year that made me feel depressed and sad sometimes but when it came to this beautiful animal at this gorgeous place – I told myself that this whale should be a message – a whale at Cape of Good Hope could be just a symbol and message of peace , prosperity and good luck – a sign that everything will become good at the end and it was true – the whole bad story later on developed into a story with a happy end ! Our customer survived , we could continue to cooperate our business in good manner ,other incidents that were coming up were all unlucky situations (one emergency landing with an aircraft that we survived and a severe car crash that we survived with small injuries but the car was 100 % smashed down ) with a very big portion of good luck in it ! So the whale brought really good luck to me.
On the same trip we decided to visit also Hermanus which is close to Cape Town , maybe a 2 hours drive at the Western Cape .
A beautiful place which was well – known for whale watching . The best season for whale watch here is between June and December .
It is reported that each year about 100 whales are arriving in Hermanus to start breading at this place .It is the Southern right whales which are migrating from the Arctic to the south coast of Africa around June to breed and mate in this region . For feeding they stay in colder food – rich waters while for giving birth to their calves they move to warmer waters.
Hermanus should be one of the best places in the world to do whale watch .Unfortunately we were too late in the morning to catch one of the whale watch boats to drive out there and to see the big mammals from near .
Instead we spent the whole day at the coastline keep watching the horizon and the whole bay .
There were plenty in number as well as in species and partly they were also coming quite close to the cliffs that we were standing on .
We could deeply enjoy those animals swimming in the rough sea , diving and showing their beautiful tails , showing us their head and their blowholes while inhalating and exhalating the fresh air and even few times jumping out of the water .
A marvelous experience , a great location where you are not aware how time is flying on a full day .
In Hermanus there are also special whale criers – really funny – they have some horn in their hand and when they discover a whale out there in the sea they blow their horn and show the direction to the observers for not missing any chance to watch a whale around .
It was such a nice weather and a good season to be here – an opulent nature , great trees , a wonderful atmosphere . In the afternoon we were so exhausted from looking to the waterside that we took a little break and sat down at one of the fish restaurants on top of the cliffs .
We had the chance that even from here you could see the whole bay . So we enjoyed our great meal – fresh fish , potatoes and some vegetable – hmmm, so delicious and sitting in the sun and just enjoying this great adventure .
Late in the evening we left to go back to Cape Town with nice memories of our first whale watching – I would love to repeat this trip and to go back to Hermanus one day !
Just like whales we also do many trips around the world, so our next destination to see this magnificent creature came 3 years later in another part of the world.
Another great opportunity actually was in 2012 when we did our trip to California .
We were coming from Las Vegas and were having some great days at L.A. driving up northwards till St Barbara and also downwards till Newport .
Actually I was not aware that we can watch whales in this region but when I started to prepare details of the trip I recognized that you can do some whale watch boat trips from Newport in L.A. So what I did was to buy the tickets in advance as otherwise you might face that tickets are sold out once you arrive there as the places on board are limited .
It took us quite some efforts to get there since you can believe how huge L.A. is and how much traffic can be there but once we arrived at Newport we found out that it is a cute little village with lots of nice water houses around and boats fringing at the waterways .
I think it was the first time that I saw people stand up paddle boarding.
It was amazing how they could manage without falling down as some were normally dressed up and just passing to the other side of the waterways .It really looked great .
At the quai few boats were ready to go for whale watching and the people were standing in front – people from allover the world were curious to see these huge mammals.
We also queued up and were curious of if and how we will have the chance to see some of them for this time.
Weather was perfect – the boat was comparably small – smaller then a blue whale at least.
We left the quai for the open Pacific Ocean to have a great day .
Out there around the lighthouse the seals were lying in the sun and having their sun-bath .
They always look so funny .
At the top of the boat there was a commander who had the most perfect view of the whole area and was trying to find some traces of the whales . On the other side he was communicating with the other boats around .
In case that somebody would observe a whale they would inform each other . Certainly we were not in the zoo where you know that you will see each of the animals but here we were in nature where you need to be very patient , open your ears and eyes as you might see some of them also in the distance .
In California the most common type of whale is the gray whale who is migrating up to 10.000 miles every year . Their feeding grounds are Alaska and the Arctic waters while their breeding areas are the warmer lagoons of Mexico .The gray whale is the animal showing the longest migration route on Earth .
We were waiting for hours and hearing that there were some whales in the close surrounding – around lunchtime all of a sudden a huge blue whale appeared very close to our boat , swimming below the boat and coming up to the surface at the other side . Everything was happening in few seconds and you could just see the spectacular if you by chance were standing at the right corner of the boat . It was so difficult to do everything at the same time – to see , to track and to take pictures – nearly impossible .
It was breathtaking as the whale was really big . Normally the blue whale is about 30 m long and this one also left its ” footprint ” on the surface of the water behind so that you could assume the size of the whale .
Unfortunately it was just diving back into the deep waters and disappearing and not coming up again .
In one of the bays , Corona Beach , we observed a group of paddlers , stand up paddlers , standing on their surfboards and looking for the whales as well . They were paddling along the coastline . We drove further – the whole day the eyes got tired as the sun was dense and you needed to be very concentrated to find some hint for some whales . All of a sudden we got a call that there was a female whale with her calf swimming at Corona Beach and yes while we were driving in that area from far we could see the adult whale spraying its water around .The mother whale and its calf were moving northwards very close to the coast .
It seemed that the mother whale was a little irritated with the boats around and as if she was trying to protect her calf .Slowly but instantly she was moving on and passing by the stand up paddlers that we met .
What kind of feeling it might be , if you are standing on your surfboard and a 30 m long whale is passing by . Whenever I see such scenery all of a sudden the story of “Jonah and the Whale ” is coming into my mind – on the one hand a little scary but on the other such a really GREAT experience .
The area was huge and it was not so easy to find an animal but we were already very lucky to have seen 3 of them .
Our cheeks were burning when we drove back to the pier as we were standing the whole day on deck under the sun .
I think people cannot imagine how exciting it is and how fast time is flying on the observation deck .
It was an amazing experience that we just decided to repeat the other day .
On our way back home we passed by the pier of Huntington Beach – a nice place to have a long drink on the terrace when the sunset is preparing just to finalize a great day.
Here you could also find some ancient wooden surfboards of the Hawaiian people and experience a great location and ambience .
For me the whales are like symbols of the Sea , like the Voice of the Ocean – looking at what is the status in our oceans worldwide unfortunately it is very sad to report that due to whale hunting in the last centuries and even today the number of whales worldwide went down by 98% .
There are about 10.000 animals only worldwide in the oceans but most of the populations are in different parts of the world so that they have no connection to each other .
Still e.g. the Japanese community insists on whale and shark hunting and is not very helpful what concerns the conversation of the species as they still claim it a part of their cultural heritage .
Another threat are the shipping lines especially in the North Pacific Ocean which are in the regions at where those animals live and they are disturbing the natural environment of the whales which is affecting their life quality seriously .
On the other side the warming up of the sea temperatures is another threat to all animals in the sea .
It is said that if a blue whale has no food to live in the ocean as the population of the fish is going down then mankind will have no oxygen to breathe .
We should not forget that the oceans are a significant part in our natural environment besides the forest providing oxygen worldwide . Therefore it is of utmost importance that the ecology and sea life and its balance is kept as once the balance is not there any more , it will be very harmful to human life on earth as well .
We should always remember what Plato claimed – “The whole planet is one living organism” and anything that will destabilize the cycle will harm anybody living on the planet .
I am looking forward to do some more whale watching in Alaska and in Iceland in the next future and it fills me with great joy already !