2019's First large group of Humpback whales in Algoa BaySunday, 12th May 2019
By Lloyd Edwards
Karen decided to run a Mother’s Day special for the “sardine run” cruise and we headed off into the bay with a full load of passengers. The weather was perfect, a flat sea and no wind predicted. We headed south past Cape Recife for around 5 miles and then headed east towards Bird Island. We saw plenty of pelagic seabirds like Indian Yellow-nosed albatross, White-chinned petrels, Wilson’s storm petrels, Sooty and Cory’s shearwaters.
We must have seen over 20 Bryde’s whales on the way to Bird Island. They, like us, were looking for the Long-nosed common dolphins, which would lead us to the bait balls. Jake managed to get us up close to quite a few of them so I could photograph the dorsal fin. We have 22 years of photos of these whales. As each one is unique, it will help us build up a population estimate for these elusive creatures.
Just before Bird Island, one of the lookouts shouted that there were some huge splashes towards the shore. We raced off towards the area in “My China”, the big V6 Suzuki outboards growling away. We arrived at the breaching whale just in time to observe another eight magnificent breaches. Wow what a treat. It was a sub adult humpback whale and our first of the season. This is the earliest we have ever encountered them in Algoa Bay. It seems like global warming may be having an effect on the seasonality of their prey. This still needs to be researched in order to find out exactly what is happening.