Tag Archives: whales

Whale Watching from the cliffs of Hermanus (2018-08-25) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 15 JUN 2019

As my regular readers would by now very much know, Chantelle absolutely loves whale watching and given our general proximity to South Africa’s best land based whale viewing area, i.e. Hermanus, we always tend to make at least one trip each and every Walker Bay whale watching season.

Last year August saw us take a drive down to a very windy Hermanus for a spot of Southern Right whale watching, and although the gusty conditions ruled out a walk up Hoy’s Koppie, it didn’t seem to bother the whales at all as we enjoyed a fabulous day of watching whales cavort around in the windswept surf.

For a change we did most of our whale watching to the east of the Cliff Tops Piazza, favouring spots along the Hermanus Cliff Path like Sieverspunt, Kwaaiwater, Skulpiesbaai, Langbaai, Kammabaai and Voëlklip Beach. The adverse wind conditions meant that we weren’t jostling through crowds of fellow whale watchers, making for a whale watching expedition that felt leisurely and not people pressured at all.

That said, the delightful Aromatish Cafe and Bakery still proved to be way too popular for us to grab a seat (so we settled for a cup of coffee at the pleasant enough Groves Cafe instead). Pleasingly, Chantelle also relented and sacrificed some of her whale watching time to allow me the opportunity of popping my head into the Old Harbour Museum, the Whale House Museum, and the De Wet’s Huis Photographic Museum. (All things that have for long been on my list of getting around to).

Basically, a little bit of something for everyone but the kids then.

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The Whale Museum in Hermanus (2018-08-25) Historic Attractions | Photo Gallery 12 JUN 2019

The Whale Museum, or more accurately, the Whale House Museum can be located within the historic Fisherman’s Village section (right next to De Wet’s Huis Photographic Museum) of the Old Harbour Museum complex in Hermanus.

By the early 1990’s, whales had become the primary tourist attraction for this popular coastal town, and as such it was suggested that Hermanus establish a whale museum with the mission of informing and educating both local and international visitors alike. Built up over 3 distinct phases, the main hall (which was completed in 1998) is the museum’s centerpiece, now dominated by the suspended skeleton of a young female Southern Right whale that had washed ashore at nearby Onrus River in 2003.

With a strong focus on digital displays with audio/visual interactions, the Whale House Museum is a treasure trove of cetacean information and although not a large space by any means, it provides a good learning experience for any youngsters stepping through its doors.

There is a also a very interesting mini-sub lounging on its floor (a favourite with the girls) and naturally, there were plenty of photos taken on the day:

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Whale Watching from the Cliff Tops Piazza in Hermanus (2017-08-09) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 30 MAR 2018

October 2005 saw the official opening of the Cliff Tops Piazza in Hermanus, a bustling central node for the town and one of the most perfect spots to sit, ice cream or coffee in hand, and watch whales come whale watching season in Walker Bay.

In fact, the Cliff Tops site has historically always been a traditional centre of Hermanus, a town that may have started out as a simple fishing village back in the early 1900’s, but which these days is very much the tourism giant of the Overstrand region.

Now while the piazza area is indeed great as a node for the all shops, restaurants and bars inhabiting it, I’m far more smitten with the lush green amphitheatre sprawled out in front of it, and thanks to the bribery of ice cream cones in their hands, I suspect my two small girls now rather agree with me.

Perfect spot to stretch out, take things slow, people watch, and of course admire the beautiful landscape all around you.

Mind you, our traditional walk to the Cliff Tops site is pretty nice as well. Always love all the public art installations (though admittedly this current batch on display isn’t exactly my favourite).

In terms of Southern Right Whale spotting for this particular day that we visited back in August last year, plenty of whales were out to put on a show in the bay – much to the delight of Chantelle who never quite seems to tire of watching whales wallow in water.

As for the girls, as always they were far more enthralled with the jungle gym and the furry dassies that run around everywhere than with boring old art, people on the sea in bright yellow kayaks, or the occassional flip of a whale tail out in the distance.

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Interestingly enough, I have never actually strolled down to the Old Harbour, nor paid a visit to the Whale Museum. I suspect both of these will happen when I one day lose my tail…

(Or I bribe it with something bright and shiny, or sweet and melty.) [Update: I did eventually get to visit the Whale House Museum in 2018]

Related Link: Cliff Tops Piazza | Hermanus

Coffee in Hermanus at Europa Cafe (2015-07-15) Photo Gallery 09 AUG 2015

So following our exciting and thoroughly enjoyable whale watching adventure in Gansbaai, Chantelle and I decided to stop for some coffee and cake in Hermanus on the long drive back home. (On such a beautiful day, who could really blame us?)

IMG_20150715_130404 art sculpture in hermanus

As always, Hermanus’ famed Cliff Walk is a treat, particularly with all the interesting art pieces they’ve dotted along the tourist part of the walk. Chantelle and I were treated to some frolicking whales in the bay, following which, we located a nice spot at the Europa coffee shop.

IMG_20150715_131345 chantelle lotter at europa cafe in hermanus

Pleasingly, the coffee and cake were rather good! :)

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Whale watching in Gansbaai with Ivanhoe Sea Safaris (2015-07-15) Photo Gallery 08 AUG 2015

It’s actually turning out to be a pretty good year in terms of experiencing new things – seriously, if I’m not flying a plane then I’m on a boat watching whales! :)

IMG_20150715_105748 craig lotter Whale watching in Gansbaai with Ivanhoe Sea Safaris

Gordon’s Beach Lodge has a work relationship with Ivanhoe Sea Safaris and often send their guests off via shuttle to go and experience whale watching in Gansbaai. As things go, Ivanhoe Sea Safaris then often invite guest house staff members out on the boat, so that they can better inform guests as to what to expect.

Luckily for me, Chantelle opted to let me with on just one such ‘educational’ ride!

IMG_20150715_093949 chantelle lotter Whale watching in Gansbaai with Ivanhoe Sea Safaris

So on a sunny Wednesday morning, we dropped the kids off at their respective little schools and made the scenic drive through to Gansbaai, a place that neither Chantelle nor I can really remember ever visiting as adults.

We arrived just in time for boarding, and pretty soon we were seated on The Ivanhoe, a 42 ft. custom built catamaran, specifically designed for watching whales.

IMG_20150715_094335 gansbaai harbour ivanhoe sea safaris

A good selection of both tourists and locals made up the spectators for the day, and after a brief instructional by a very amicable and knowledgeable crew, we were out of the harbour and hunting for whales!

The water was calm, the weather sunny, and no wind to speak of, making conditions perfect for whale watching.

It’s quite exciting as you zoom across the water, and then suddenly have the engines cut as you stop because of a possible sighting in the distance. Then it’s everyone to the front of the boat, and seriously, it is so quiet that you can hear a pin drop – everyone is scouring the water, looking for that telltale ‘footprint’ of a whale nearby.

(Though when a whale does come up, then its an instant cacophony of camera shutters clicking – sadly, cellphone cameras like mine are pretty useless at this sort of thing!)

IMG_20150715_110910 Whale watching in Gansbaai with Ivanhoe Sea Safaris

Of course, half of the fun is this expectation (similar to when you are out in a game reserve, scouring the brush for a sighting of something special), but when a whale does finally break surface and comes right up to you, then it really becomes extraordinary.

Massive, gentle, and interesting giants without a doubt! (We spotted plenty of birdlife, seals, a couple of fast moving Bryde’s whales in the distance, and of course the slow moving Southern Right whales who came right up close to the boat).

IMG_20150715_111358 Whale watching in Gansbaai with Ivanhoe Sea Safaris

So needless to say, this 2+ hour long experience is definitely one well worth a recommendation!

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Related Link: http://whaleviewing.co.za/

Joke Factory: Scotland Wales Jokes & other Funny Stuff 28 MAR 2013

Last night I was having some wings and beer with a co-worker after work. There were these two pretty, but kinda large girls drinking at the bar and being rather loud. They had what I could have sworn was a Scottish accent.

Seeing as I’m a big fan of girls from the UK, I ambled over to strike up a conversation. I asked them, “So… are you two ladies from Scotland then?”

I could see immediately that I had offended them. The brunette scowled and retorted, “WALES!”

I humbly apologized and replied, “I’m sorry. Are you two whales from Scotland then?”