In response to Fanie de Jager’s letter “Waarheen is al die walvisse” (Hermanus Times 17/07), I can say that as a proud Hermanian and whale lover, I have diligently photographed and monitored whales from land, sea and air, and can tell you there has been no decline in the numbers to Hermanus (Walker Bay).
I personally counted 25 whales from Sievers Punt on 15 July.
The bay has had record sightings of humpback whales this season (June/July).
To add to my sightings, I photographed three mother/calf pairings on 14 July, the earliest I’ve ever seen calves in the bay from land.
As for the whale boats, get off your butt and go and enjoy a trip to see whales at close quarters.
The boats, by law, are allowed to approach to 50 metres. Because of their (whales) inquisitive nature, they approach the boats almost every time, to within touching distance.
The southern right whale population is increasing every year (approximately 7000 to the SA coastline in 2013, out of a total population of approximately 16 000).
Personally, I believe Walker Bay has a capacity to contain 250 whales at peak times (Sep/Oct).
In my short 10 years monitoring whales in Walker Bay, capacity has always been reached.
Whale watching in Hermanus, De Kelders, Pearly beach, and De Hoop any time in the season is fantastic, Tamatie Bank included.
I didn’t see Mr De Jager braaing on a beautiful mid June morning when I photographed a southern right in the kelp and a breaching humpie, all from the very Tamatie Bank.
Dave de Beer
Author, wild life photographer and whale-watching walks tour guide
Source: Hermanus Times