Welcome to Day 23 of the A-Z Blogging Challenge. My theme is:
I am fortunate to have seen Humpback Whales in South Africa and the South Pacific. Here are the relevant (edited) snippets from two of my articles.
Extract from an English language newspaper in Spain:
The Greater St Lucia Wetland Park is on the shores of the Indian Ocean. Inland from St Lucia, the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi game reserve is the oldest proclaimed national park in Africa. At 960 square kilometres, it is far smaller than Kruger, but has a good reputation. We visited the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi reserve first, electing to do the Umfolozi side since we could pronounce it.
The slightly scruffy town of St Lucia sits at the mouth of the St Lucia estuary. Advantage Deepsea Charters arrange trips to view humpback whales from July to October.
We boarded the boat directly off the beach. The skipper gunned the engine and we were soon bucking and slamming through the breakers. Once past the breakers we were permitted to remove our lifejackets, although the ocean was as rough as a washing machine.
Three of us joined Skipper Danie on a small viewing platform with a secondary wheel. From this lofty perch we could see for miles.
All eyes were peeled, searching for tell-tale 'blows'; the plume of spray that is a whale exhaling. My husband spotted a blow. Suddenly we were chaperoning five humpback whales for a few miles of their mammoth journey south.
It is hard to assimilate how large a humpback is as you glimpse the curve of a back or the span of a tail as it dives. The eye thinks it is being deceived, but they really are as large as trucks.
The return to our embarkation point entailed a scary high speed ride so bone rattling I was nearly catapulted overboard.
Air-Pacific in-flight magazine extract:
“Mantas!” James leapt to his feet and raced out on deck.
We swiftly followed. Manta rays were breaking the surface two hundred metres from our boat.
In no time flat we were enjoying an impromptu dive with possibly the most elegant animals to grace our oceans.
For the diving enthusiast, or person who wants to learn scuba diving, there is nothing quite like a dive live-aboard cruise. It gives you the opportunity to live and breathe this addictive sport for several days with like-minded people. Couple this with a cruise around Fiji’s abundance of exquisite small islands and you have a perfect holiday combination.
In addition to diving the reefs around Makogai Island, we made landfall. Villagers gathered on the beach to welcome us with a song. We were garlanded with sweetly fragrant leis and village chief Watson shook everyone’s hand…
It was at Makogai that ‘blows’ were spotted.
Before you could say “humpback whale” we were speeding out in the skiff for a closer look at a mother and her calf as they lazily breached and dove for several magical minutes.
See you tomorrow – I’m heading north west. Can you guess where and what the next animal will be?
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