Divers and whales

Whale alert!

Tony took a group of divers on the boat yesterday, to dive the SAS Transvaal in Smitswinkel Bay. Two of them were advanced students who had to do their deep skills.

Deep skills
Justin and Gerard complete their deep slates with Tony

I was testing my new Sony Cybershot DSC-TX5 digital camera in its marine housing. The underwater shots are a mixed bag of quality so far – I was a bit over-ambitious trying to get grand sweeping shots, given that the visibility was only about 10 metres and the ship is nearly 94 metres long… But overall it was tremendously easy to use. More on the camera later, but I wanted to share these pictures taken on the surface. We’d seen whales on the way to the dive site, and when we surfaced they were very close. I took these photos from the boat while the others were still in the water.

Divers and whales
Divers and whales in Smitswinkel Bay – note the callosities on the whales’ heads
Divers and whales
Look at the size of those fins!
Divers and whales
Southern right whale frolicking in Smitswinkel Bay

The sound they make when they expel air (and mucous and nitrogen waste products, according to Wikipedia) from their blowholes is tremendously loud. I wanted to go to the airshow this weekend, not so much as to SEE the planes (though that is cool) but to HEAR them – I love the noise. However, after hearing a few of these whales snorting from less than 20 metres away, my desire for LOUD NOISES was satisfied.

Southern right whales
Southern right whales

The surface current was pushing the divers towards the whales, at which point the skipper got everyone back on the boat and carefully moved us away. Whales don’t always respect the 300 metre rule!

Published by


Lapsed mathematician, creator of order, formulator of hypotheses. Lover of the ocean, being outdoors, the bush, reading, photography, travelling (especially in Africa) and road trips.

3 thoughts on “Whale alert!”

  1. Great pics and what an experience to be that close. Would love to learn to dive, but only coming in July and august does not give me much hope, not to mention I hate cold water.

    1. David, diving in Cape Town is better in winter than in summer… and we can dress you in lots of layers of neoprene for comfort! We will talk again next time you’re here 🙂

Comments are closed.