Along the Whale Route

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Although the focus of the second week of our trip when we were mostly in Cape Town was my conference, I did want to enjoy a few things with David that I didn’t have the opportunity to do last time we were in Cape Town. On one of the slow days at the conference, we decided to head out on a trip down to Hermanus along the South African whale route. We took a leisurely drive down the coast along the side of False Bay that we hadn’t seen before. We drove through the resort towns of the Strand and beach towns like Gordon’s Bay and Betty’s Bay. The weather was lovely and the views were breathtaking all along the way. Unfortunately, this was the day that I neglected to refill my camera with my battery that I had charged the night before. I am such a forgetful genius these days. Although my phone’s camera didn’t do too badly, it still didn’t capture all that we saw quite the same way, but I did the best I could.
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We arrived in Hermanus with some time to spare before our boat departed so we walked around and explored the little town and took in some more amazing coastal views.

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Can you spot the dassie (hyrax) in the above picture?There are actually two. If you click on the picture to make it larger, you might be able to find them. We saw several on the rocks. I still get a kick out of the fact that these little guys have elephants as their closest living relatives.

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Finally, it was time to head out on the boat to see if we could spot any of these:

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That would be the Southern Right Whale. Apparently, they were named the Right Whales, because European whalers identified them as the “right” whales to kill because they wouldn’t sink the boats the way other whales would.

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We looked pretty stylish on our life vests. I don’t know why the crew insisted that we wear them the entire time, because I never had been on any kind of boat tour where that was the case, but I guessed it was probably based on some past experience, so I trusted their judgment on this. Also, no doubt the ocean is freezing there and the waves were pretty high. It is funny how being a parent changes you, as now I feel like being overly cautious and prudent is completely second nature.

The views from the boat back to the shore were also lovely. Directly south of Hermanus is a protected area of coastline that is beautiful, and I would love to go back there and explore it on foot.

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Did we see whales? Yes, we did. We actually saw several as there was a mating party in full effect. However, my photography skills when it comes to whales sucks, particularly considering all I had was my phone camera.

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I realize that picture is a fairly anticlimactic to an entry that is supposed to be about whales. I get that. The whales were nice and all, but really I just enjoyed a day to get out and see some more of South Africa. After a very late lunch in town, we headed back for the two hour drive back to Cape Town, heading more inland this time. It was spectacular seeing all the lovely farms nestled in valleys. You are driving in the countryside and through the mountains until you peek over Sir Lowry’s pass and see the Cape Flats in front of you. It is too beautiful to try to describe and I lack the photographs to do it justice.

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