Weather conditions at Rocktail this month were mild with warm, sunny days and cooler nights. Sea conditions were mostly good with a few days of swell, brought on by cold fronts travelling up the coastline from the Cape. Water temperature at the beginning of the month was 23° Celsius and by month’s end it had only dropped to 22°.
At this time of year we get excited as the first humpback whales arrive around now. These whales live in the Antarctic but as winter approaches the ice freezes over and does not leave them with much space to manoeuvre. And so, as temperatures drop, the whales begin their migration. These amazing mammals have a distinctive body shape, with unusually long pectoral fins and a knobbly head, growing up to 16 metres long and weighing 36 000 kilogrammes. They also have a “fingerprint.” Each whale has distinctive markings on the underside of its tail, so if a photo is taken of this unique pattern and given to a scientist who has studied these magnificent creatures they can identify that specific humpback whale.
Mandla saw the first humpback whale breaching out to sea on the 3rd of June. On the 13th we could hear humpback whales singing underwater on our dive, an eerie sound but incredible to hear. We then later saw them breaching whilst we were having breakfast up on the dune. On the 15th guests got to see five humpback whales while out on the boat enjoying an ocean experience. Each day that passes reveals more and more humpback whales migrating north. This is just the beginning of humpback whale season so we look forward to many more sightings in the months to come.
We had a couple of families visiting this month, most of them for the first time and others that had not been up our way for a few years – it was great to catch up with everyone!
The Meulepas and Bezuidenhout families were fortunate to see humpback dolphins on the way to Yellowfin Reef. This is a spectacular sighting as these dolphins are endangered and not often seen along this coastline. The dive at Yellowfin was very active and they enjoyed sightings of huge schools of big-eye kingfish, chubs, blue-banded snappers as well as slingers. On their second dive of the day at Pineapple Reef, they enjoyed watching a very curious green turtle that posed for the camera.
The Knight family saw a sailfish on the way to Pineapple Reef and during their snorkelling trip they saw a manta ray lying on the surface, but it quickly disappeared into the depths before they could get into the water to snorkel with it.
The Frings family travelled all the way from the USA where they had just completed their dive course in order to be able to dive during their holiday in Africa. This was the first time their sons had dived in the ocean. They had spectacular sightings of a big loggerhead turtle, two big potato bass and a grey reef shark which was so relaxed it swam in a circle in front of them. They were also fortunate to snorkel with bottlenose dolphins on the way back from Gogo’s.
The Langens and Hamilton family also experienced their first dives in the ocean with us. During their second dive, at Pineapple Reef, they were spoiled with sightings of bottlenose dolphins in the distance. The resident potato bass, Cheeky, was very friendly as he swam around them for a while, posing on the sand for everyone to see. They also saw a huge honeycomb moray eel and a giant moray eel, as well as a green turtle.
The Bornman couple’s highlight of their trip was diving at Elusive. The first time they dived there they saw bottlenose dolphins on scuba and then a few days later they returned to Elusive and swam with a manta ray that had a wingspan of about two metres across and had about twelve remoras swimming with it!
Congratulations go to the following divers:
Stuart Dunlop, Hamir Thapar – for completing their Discover Scuba Diving Experiences
Justin and Kayla Prowse – for completing their Bubblemaker courses
Yours in diving,
Darryl, Clive, Michelle, Samantha, Mandla and Sipho
The Rocktail Dive Team