Of all the journeys I have taken in my lifetime, driving to the Overberg for the first time will surely remain one of the most memorable for years. Nothing quite compares to the landscapes in bloom and Proteas pinking it up in the light spring rains.
Louise and I left Cape Town at the crack of dawn – direction Kleinbaai: I was going to see whales up close and personal for the first time. It has been a long-awaited tick off my bucket list, as there is something about these gentle giants that have continued to fascinate me since I was I a child (who grew up about 1000 km from the ocean).
We decided to trust Dyer Island Cruises (part of the award winning Marine Dynamics) with my expectations, as they both have a formidable name and contribute greatly to research and conservation. This, in the light of our ethics as travellers was important.
We arrived at the Great White House. The rain falling without vigour. I felt demotivated, as I was worried I wouldn’t be able to film these whales, or that the weather might prevent us from going out at sea at all.
But, alas, there is always the wondrous hospitality that us South Africans are famous for – and here it was no different. I ordered a mussel pot and drank my Hermanuspietersfontein wine next to the fireplace, fingers crossed. That night I snuggled up (right next to ANOTHER FIREPLACE RIGHT NEXT TO MY BED) and dreamt of the next morning.
Indeed the next morning we rose to find the sun chasing the clouds to the furthest part of the horizon and the rains nowhere in sight. Louise and I snapped away, and we settled in to find the Southern Right Mothers of this secluded bay.
I cannot begin to explain how incredible the team is. Truly, one of the things that makes or breaks an experience for me is the crew and service. I almost want to give ALL OF THEM 1000/10 if that is at all possible. Everyone involved, work to make their love for the ocean visible. In all honesty you will be safe and entertained and informed and happy!
Not even 500 m from the shore the skipper saw a pod and we carefully approached. Keeping careful distance (as this is actually THEIR ocean and not ours) we stopped, engine still running.
And then they approached. My heart stopped. I am not even going to attempt to explain what happened inside my being.
These creatures, in their size and grace, make you ponder practically everything.
We passed Geyser Rock, a small island with more seals than you can count. Literally. Quite appropriately the channel next to the island is called Shark Alley, where the seals frolic in the cold waters of a great white gourmet restaurant.
Just as I was beginning to loose hope of seeing a breaching whale, the skipper again stopped and pointed to a pod about 200 m away.
And then they breached.
If you have never seen a whale up close and you feel like you want to also tick that box, I honestly cannot recommend Dyer Island Cruises high enough. Really. Just go.