Southern Right Whales
I have been living in Plettenberg Bay since 1998 and each year we would welcome these gentle giants of the ocean to our colder waters. I have seen Southern Right whales as early as April and as late as November, but generally you can start seeing them come down from June – September. I have also noticed an increase in numbers from say five years ago, this is always a positive sign. We need to protect and appreciate these special creatures.
So to give you a little more information about Southern Right Whales:
Southern Right Whale got it’s “common name” from whale hunters back in the day, these whales where considered the “right” whale to hunt.
The Latin name: Eubalaena australis
The southern right whale is easily distinguished by the callosities that you can easy see (even from a distance0 on it’s head, they have broad backs with no dorsal fin, a long arching mouth that begins from just above the eye. Their skin is a very dark grey or black and sometime they have white patches on their bellies.
An adult female can grow up to 15 metres and can with 47 tonnes while the males can reach up to 18 metres and weigh up to 80 tonnes.
Gestation period is 12 months and they life span is unclear, although whales seem to reach over 100 years.
Southern right whales are one of the more active whales and often will be seen on the water surface and their curious natures sees them interacting with vessels. One unique southern right whale behaviour is known as “tail sailing”, using their elevated flukes to catch the wind and they can remain in that position for some time. Southern right whales will often be seen interacting with humpback whales and dolphins (I have seen this, its so special!)