Friday, October 9, 2009

A Whale of a Time

One thing I wanted to do the last time I was here, but didn't get the opportunity to do, was go whale watching. We hired Parks (our driver) for the day and went about 112km east to Hermanus for the whale festival. Hermanus is a really small town but is known as the whale capital of South Africa. Parks took the scenic route along the coast, so it took almost 3 hours to get there, but the trip was definitely worth it! We were greeted by two jumping whales right as we pulled up to the cliff! I was really shocked at how close to the land the whales actually came. We all jumped out of the van and headed down to the action. People were lined all along the coast and out on the rocks poised with cameras in the ready position just hoping to get a shot; and it wasn't long before I was right there with them…out on the rocks just waiting for some action! After a while with no action, we decided to grab some lunch. There was a small little strip mall with some restaurants, but I decided to take in the festival and ventured to the food tents. There were so many different things to choose, but I settled on some sort of homemade wrap with sun-dried tomatoes, feta, and avo (avocado: I don't think I've seen the whole word spelled out here. Of course, I only recently discovered that I like them, so it could be that way in the US and I'm just not up to speed). To my surprise, it was nutritious and delicious!!!

After lunch, we headed up to the cliff for a different vantage point, and it wasn't long before two whales (a mom and her calf I think) came right over to where we were. People seemed to come out of nowhere and within seconds the cliff was full of people…standing right in my view and messing up my shot! I really didn't want to go to the edge, but I sucked it up and went down to get a better view. Getting a good picture was much harder than I thought. I got what I thought were some good shots of the whales in the water, but they turned out to look like dark blobs in the water (they really are whales… I promise!). By the time I made it to the edge of the cliff, I had given up on still shots and switched to video. (Unfortunately, it will take to much Internet usage for me to upload them here, but maybe I'll post one on Facebook when I get back.) The awesome view at the edge came to a quick end when the police came and made us all move back. Shortly after that, it started raining and our day in Hermanus came to an abrupt end. Despite the soggy ending, I really enjoyed it!
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