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Sunday, 8 July 2007

Creatures Large and Small

This post is a little different in that the photographs are “wildlife” pictures taken in the small seaside town of Hermanus about an hour and a half’s drive from Cape Town.

The first picture was taken quite some time ago using our pretty basic Fuji film Finepix 2 mega-pixel camera with its rather limited 3 X optical zoom. If we had had the newer Cannon S3IS camera with us on that visit we would have been able to do a lot better but the pictures we did get show just what a wonderful place Hermanus is for whale watching.

The picture of a Southern Right Whale posted here was taken from the cliffs near the old fishing harbour. This is no longer functioning as a working harbour but has been preserved as a monument and tourist attraction. Close by is a rather unique restaurant, Bientang's Cave Seafood Restaurant, which has been built into centuries old cave in what is probably the best land-based whale watching area in the world. Imagine being able to watch these wonderful creatures frolic in Walker Bay as you enjoy a delicious lunch and sip a fine South African wine in the warm spring sunshine. What a magnificent part of the world we live in.


Some Background on the Southern Right Whale

I have read that the whale’s name derives from the fact that it was the 'right' whale to catch, being rich in oil and because it floats in the water when killed. It is estimated that the population of this species presently numbers 3 to 4 thousand. The whales move north during winter and spring to mate, calve and rear their young. They are usually seen along the South African coast between late July and early December.

Southern Right Whales can be identified by the double, V-shaped, plume of vapour they blow when they surface. They can reach a length of 18 metres and weigh as much as 80 tons when fully grown

If you wish to do some whale watching a good time to visit Hermanus is during the Whale and Enviro-Arts festival in September each year.

The Cape Hyrax (Dassie)



This pictures was also taken on the cliffs near to the old Fishing Harbour but on a different visit. There are numerous of these rather cute little creatures living along the rocky cliff tops of Hermanus

They are supposedly primarily vegetarian although we caught one chewing determinedly on a chicken bone stolen from a picnicker.

Apparently, the closest surviving relatives of the Dassie are elephants!

3 comments:

Jackie said...

Great photo of the whale. Reminds me of a wonderful week I spend a few years ago in Hermanus whale watching.

I also love dassies. Came across a family in the gardens of a hotel in the KZN bush and spent hours just watching them...the hotel staff couldn't figure out why I was so entranced LOL

Carol Hadfield said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carol Hadfield said...

Hi Jackie,
Nice to hear from you. We have several more pictures of whales and dassies; one of a Dassie chewing on a chicken bone as mentioned in the text, which we may post later. Hermanus and nearby Onrus are favourite places for us.
Bryan (the photographer)and Carol