Eager whale-watchers aboard the Simon’s Town Boat Company tour this week were lucky enough to experience a unique sighting as an excited gentle giant breached more than 30 times in a short space of time.
The boat was near Smitswinkel Bay in the False Bay area when tour-goers spotted a lively whale making its way towards Cape Point.
“This animal was full of energy and literally dived and breached continuously for over 40 minutes.
We had the feeling that it was deliberately giving us a show, as each breach seemed to provide a different aerial display,” said Dave Hurwitz from Simon’s Town Boat Company.
Guests enjoyed the rare display as they waited in anticipation for each consecutive breach.
“What was particularly great for our guests is that the breaches were predictable and no matter whether they were using the fanciest camera or a cellphone, they all got great photos and videos,” Hurwitz said.
“I would have loved to record the cheers and screeches of joy each time the animal breached – that in itself would make an entertaining sound track,” he said.
In 20 years that Hurwitz has been operating the tour company, he says he never tires of seeing these unique displays and majestic animals come close to their vessels.
Every year, Southern Right Whales make their way up the coastline to breed and calve. The best time to watch the whales is from July to December.
There are a number of theories as to why whales and other marine mammals breach. Some scientists believe it is a form of communication during mating season, to tell other whales they are ready and available. Others believe it is to communicate areas with a bountiful food supply or even dangers caused by predators.
Whatever the reason it is a truly amazing sight to behold.
Locals hoping to catch a glimpse of something similar can join the tours from June to November between 10.30am and 2pm daily.
Pictures: Dave Hurwitz