Raggy Charters Whale Watching

raggy charters, whale watching, boat, things to do, port elizabeth, bottlenose dolphins, penguins, cape gannets, family, travel, south africa, road trip, kid friendly

raggy charters, whale watching, boat, things to do, port elizabeth, bottlenose dolphins, penguins, cape gannets, family, travel, south africa, road trip, kid friendlyWe have been incredibly fortunate on our road trip around South Africa in terms of opportunities. People have been incredibly generous and eager to help and for that, I will be eternally grateful…especially since funds are running out FAST.

raggy charters, whale watching, boat, things to do, port elizabeth, bottlenose dolphins, penguins, cape gannets, family, travel, south africa, road trip, kid friendlyWhile a discount is offered for the Raggy Charters experience through the Nelson Mandela Bay Pass, we were given the opportunity to sale with them as part of a media educational and we cancelled plans so that we could join them. What a breathtaking experience! Once again I find that I don’t have enough words to describe those awesome few hours.

raggy charters, whale watching, boat, things to do, port elizabeth, bottlenose dolphins, penguins, cape gannets, family, travel, south africa, road trip, kid friendlyIt’s not whale watching season yet so we went out with very few expectations. Port Elizabeth isn’t named the Bottlenose capital of the world for nothing though and we had a huge pod of dolphins join us soon after we left the harbour.

house on island st croixApparently the rule of thumb is for every dolphin you see on the surface, you should count 3 as there are usually 2 below for every one. So the pod of about 20 we saw was actually about 60-80 dolphins. Some of the dolphins were barely a few days old as we noticed contraction marks on them as they leaped between their parents. SO MUCH CUTENESS!

raggy charters, whale watching, boat, things to do, port elizabeth, bottlenose dolphins, penguins, cape gannets, family, travel, south africa, road trip, kid friendlyWe headed to the Island of the Cross or La Croix to drop off a researcher who needed to count penguin eggs. The seasons are completely crazy at the moment and, since so many areas have been overfished, penguins breeding cycles are completely out of wack. Penguins usually follow the cycle of eating lots before they moult so that when all their feathers fall out and they can’t hunt for food, they are fat enough to survive while they wait to become waterproof again.

raggy charters, whale watching, boat, things to do, port elizabeth, bottlenose dolphins, penguins, cape gannets, family, travel, south africa, road trip, kid friendlyNow that they have to swim further to hunt for fish, they aren’t eating enough to survive moulting season and then when they lay eggs during breeding season, they often can’t bring back enough food (since the food has already been digested by the time they come back – due to distance) and they can’t feed their chicks. This means that they choose to feed the stronger chick to ensure survival and the other chick gets abandoned or starves to death. This is usually when SAMREC in Port Elizabeth steps in and comes to their aid.

raggy charters, whale watching, boat, things to do, port elizabeth, bottlenose dolphins, penguins, cape gannets, family, travel, south africa, road trip, kid friendlyWhat the researchers are hoping to see is that they are actually going through 2 breeding seasons in a year so that they can compensate for the chicks that aren’t surviving while they wait for the new Marine Protection Area (MPA) paperwork to kick in. They are having the area around the island declared a MPA so that the penguins have enough fish to eat and there is a stronger chance of survival.

raggy charters, whale watching, boat, things to do, port elizabeth, bottlenose dolphins, penguins, cape gannets, family, travel, south africa, road trip, kid friendlyOn the way back from the island, we were met by a pod of dolphins that seemed to have a resident seal hanging out with them. According to the Raggy Charters professionals, this is a rare sight and it was a special treat to see. In terms of bird life, we spotted loads of Cape Gannet dive bombing into the ocean to catch fish. We even had a persistant bird circle the boat who was hoping to steal any fish we may have had on the boat. I can’t remember the name. Can someone help?

This was such an informative boat trip that I actually wish I took notes. I’m having a hard time recalling everything I learned, but maybe you are curious about it to go find out for yourself 😉

About TazzDiscovers 127 Articles
We are a family of four with a passion for South Africa. Exploring Cape Town, and anywhere else we can get to in our VW Polo, is our favourite way to spend time together. The kids are almost 12 and 15 respectively, and have had access to the most amazing opportunities through this little blog. This is something we are incredibly grateful for. It has matured them and allowed them to grow into little connoisseurs of all things wonderful, in South Africa. If you would like a family perspective on your business or location, we would love to work with you. Feel free to reach out via email: tazzdiscovers@gmail.com

2 Comments

  1. The persistent brown bird is a sub-Antarctic Skua. Here in the Winter months and scavenges for fish and scraps from trawlers so they have a habit of following any boats in the area just to try their luck. They also predate the penguin eggs and chicks, so not a big fan 🙂 P.S. Wonderful blog – so so thankful for the kind words. And happy to help with any more information!

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