…of South Africa. The Southern right is one weird-looking mammal, more like an alien life form than anything I thought I recognize as being a whale.
Each Southern right whale can be individually identified by the horny growths known as callosities that grow on their heads. Their heads are much hairier than most whales. And they have TWO blowholes. Who knew? The Internet is a vast place of useless information! *
They spend June – November off the coast of South Africa. When Uwe and I finally got to really travel again, the Garden Route of South Africa in November sounded perfect. Even though there are no gardens, just a lot of spectacular ocean views, and we’d hopefully see migrating whales. (The place-namers must have drunk too much local wine when they named that stretch of territory.)
The town to see whales is Hermanus. We walked from our hotel to the jetty where we’d catch a whale watching boat. The scenery included local art.
Out in the bay we spotted fins first.
The closer we got to the pod of 4 whales, the easier it was to spot the callosities.
These were whales?
And then one of the whales lifted its head. The Southern Right are baleen whales. They swim with their mouths open, continuously feeding as food filters through the baleen hairs.
We left the boat content but still not quite sure what life form we’d just spent a day observing. I had a hard time narrowing down Uwe’s photos of the Southern Right whale for this post! **
I’ll be talking about a close relative of the whale. It is NOT what you think! (heh heh heh) Any guesses?
Stay tuned for the next post.
NOTES: https://www.whaletrail.co.za *For more dubiously useful information, go to these earlier posts to learn what to call groups of whales: The Animal Kingdom: 22 & The Animal Kingdom: 37 **Uwe’s comment: I had a hard time?! He had to decide which to keep out of the more than 500 photos he took that day! ©2023 Jadi Campbell. All photos © Uwe Hartmann. Uwe’s photography may be viewed at viewpics.de.
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8 thoughts on “Consider the Southern Right Whale…”
Thanks for this very interesting post! And I like the local art work, especially the fish sculpture.
Thanks Marilyn – the artwork is found along the coast in open, grassy park areas, with plaques crediting the title and artist.
Whee! I learned something new today! Never heard of these whales before!
Also got a kick out of the sculptures.
Keera Ann the name comes from the fact that early whalers were told the whales were the ‘right’ southern whales to slaughter. In any case, it’s one truly strange-looking critter!
I looked it up. An interesting animal. I’m glad they are not a threatened species.
A good example of how ecotourism can preserve or rescue the environment… Hermanus is ‘the’ spot in South Africa to journey to in order to see these whales and others. Which was the very reason we decided to visit there.
Holy cow those things are strange looking! The first photos almost looked a bit like a hippo. 🙂
Hold that thought, Hey Traveler!! I’m going to quote you in my next post!