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Winter Whale Tales

Posted on: August 2, 2017, in Latest News, Wildlife

At this time of the year; Umngazi guests are greeted to the sight of the Humpback Whales (The most commonly seen whale species off the Wild Coast) These whales feed in Antarctic icy waters during the Summer and visit our shores during their annual migration to warmer waters during June to late November/early December; to give birth and nurse their calves.
The whales do not come in as close as they do in the Southern Cape so it is best to pack a pair of binoculars and climb a high vantage point (the spa deck or Sugar Loaf a good spot!). Observers will be treated to spectacular displays as these incredible whales leap almost clear of the water. Various acrobatic displays can be seen from tail slapping, to eye hopping, lobtailing (where they remain inverted from time to time, with only their tails protruding above the surface), to full breaches. These are forms of communication between individuals as well as playful behaviour.
Dolphins are common along the coast and can occasionally form pods of up to 5000 members during the Sardine Run (known as a super pod). They are most often seen surfing and performing acrobatic manoeuvres in the waves. The two most commonly seen species are the Common and Bottlenose dolphins. Our area has a resident pod of bottlenose dolphins but as one can imagine, their playground is vast and they can be seen anywhere south or north from us.

If you are feeling adventurous and would like to get closer to the whales and dolphins; why not join Debbie and Rob from OffShore Africa in Port St Johns for a 2 or 4 hour ocean/whale watching trip. Visit their website for further information.

Some interesting whale facts:
• Whale milk has a toothpaste-like consistency because of its 35-50% fat content which prevents it breaking up in the sea. Calves can drink up to 200 litres of it every day for at least 6 months.
• The humpback whale calf is born at a length of 4m
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