Pelagic Birding Boat Cruise in Port Elizabeth
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Please note that Raggy Charters was the only successful applicant for the Boat Based Dolphin & Whale Watching Permit for Algoa Bay, South Africa. There was only one permit issued. The permit was issued on the 20th June 2011 by the Department of Environmental Affairs, which allows us close encounters with whales and dolphins. Although there were many factors that counted towards the allocation of the permit, we believe that we were successful because of our commitment to marine conservation and education. Most of the funds generated by our tours go towards The Penguin Research Fund which is trying desperately to explain the dramatic decrease in the African Penguin population and rectify this situation. Raggy Charters also undertakes regular beach clean-ups in the Port Elizabeth area and has started an initiative to offset our carbon footprint by planting at least one indigenous tree for every boat cruise we do.
Cost is R1800 per person & please email us directly to make a booking (locals please enquire about prices). We meet at the Algoa Bay Yacht Club in the Port Elizabeth Harbour at first light, usually returning by early afternoon (pre-booking required). Light refreshments and snacks are served during the cruise and there is the option of having lunch afterwards at the yacht club.
We start off the tour with a harbour cruise and a full safety briefing, after which we exit port and head out into the bay.
During the winter months (and ranging from April through to September) the South African coast is visited by a number of various pelagic bird species. We take our guests out on to the open ocean, heading for the continental shelf where we are soon joined by Indian yellow-nosed, black-browed, and shy albatrosses, sooty, cory's and great shearwaters, white-chinned, Northen giant and storm petrels, swift, roseate and antarctic terns, and the ever greedy sub-Antarctic skua. We have also encountered grey-headed and sooty albatrosses out to sea. Most of these birds often come up quite close to the boat, usually to see if we have any fish on-board. However, we will also head close to fishing boats as they might be getting all the attention of these beautiful birds. We usually like to do a half-day trip, trying to find our guests as many species as possible. And unfortunately, the rougher the sea the better chance we do have of spotting these animals.
During this cruise guests also have the possibility of spotting bottlenose dolphins, common dolphins, humpback dolphins, Southern right whales, humpback whales, bryde’s whales, minke whales, Cape fur seals, various species of sharks, African penguins, Cape gannets, African black oystercatchers, Cape cormorants and white-breasted cormorants.
Both catamarans have a specially designed viewing platform which allows the guide to have the best possible view of the bay and thus chance to see any animals that may be present.
*Disclaimer: Raggy Charters cannot guarantee animal sightings on any cruise. Raggy Charters offers guests the opportunity to view wild animals which will move around at their own will and therefore we cannot be held responsible for the movements of these animals. Guests who are taken to St Croix are guaranteed to see African penguins, and therefore no refund will be given if other marine animals are not spotted. If absolutely no animals are sighted compensation, in the form of a free ticket for the next boat trip, may be given at the discretion of the skipper.*