Whale & Suspension Bridge

Our whale watching trip was postponed on our original date despite the fine weather; it was too windy to head out in the ocean. So we decided to head further east to Storms River instead. After going through 2 poll stations, 1 for the highway and another is to the reserve, we headed in.

This seemed to be a popular tourist stop as there are buses in abundance besides cars around. We took the hike up the suspension bridge which is an upward climb of about 30mins before descending down to see the 2 bridges. It was a breezy day which madeup for the hot climb. Only one of my sister walked all the way through, we stopped and U-turned after one of the closer vantage points. On our way out we saw our first pod of dolphins swimming along the coast.

The next day started out sunny and clear. So after breakfast at the Amani Lodge, we set off to Plettenberg Bay to sit on a boat to whale watch. However the trip turned out to be postponed, as the winds are way too strong despite the great weather.

With the freed up time, we took this free window time frame to explore further west to view the suspension bridge at Storms River, within the Tsitsikamma National Park.

First we wear the usual life jacket and then hop on board the beached boat. There is a 4×4 vehichle hooked with a winch and rig to push the boat out to sea. We sat on the last row and got to know the skipper who said that it’s the driver’s job to watch the waves and push the boat out to the ocean.

A full rev into the watch, the skipper started the engines and we were on our way to find some whales. One of the tourist spotted a seal in the water but the skipper commented that he was going for bigger ones. And before long, we were looking at 5 southern right whales. I climbed the ladder to the lookout point to joined another avid photographer out there. It was a challenge to keep myself balanced, holding 1 hand and the other holding my lightweight Tokina 400mm lens to shoot the whales. Unfortunately none of them did a full tail flip but I was happy to be able to catch the spyhopping one.

We stayed quite awhile with the 5 whales and a sealion before heading back. Halfway through, a pod of dolphins swam by and our boat chased after. I was feeling a bit green after getting down from the lookout point. Too much close up with telephoto zooming does that to me. Anyway I tried to snap some shots but none were fantastic.

I loved the next part of the whale watching… beaching the boat. Instructions given is to sit tight, hold onto the rail tightly and brace oneself. Why? The skipper would rev to full speed to gain sufficient momentum to ride the wave onto the sand. It was quite a thrill ride, like one of those theme parks ones. The impact to shore was not as jarring as expected, in fact it was just a mild bump and we landed. We took a short tea break with drinking tea and taking photo with the skipper.

Then since departed Plettenberg Bay, took a long break as we were rather exhausted by the trip. Since the day had excellent weather, we went out to shoot sunset and was well rewarded.

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