All for one, and one for all

With a hop, skip, jump or large step, everyone knows to avoid bluebottles Physalia physalis with their unmistakable blue float and long trailing tentacles which deliver a painful sting. Although commonly called bluebottles, individuals of this species are also known as Portuguese men-of-war. The float of the bluebottle averages 10 cm in length, and is READ MORE

No sting attached

Commonly known as sea-money, Porpita pacifica is a blue-fringed disc of roughly 4 centimeters in diameter. This is a species of raft hydroid, a surface dwelling species which uses trapped air to control its buoyancy. While it may appear to be a single organism, P. pacifica is in fact a colonial animal, where a number READ MORE

Surfing sea snails

The smooth plough shell Bullia rhodostoma is a whelk (sea snail) commonly found along our coastline, often scavenging off washed up jellyfish and blue bottles. This species is extremely slow growing and only reaches a maximum size of 5.5cm. They grow quite rapidly in the first year, reaching 1cm in size, but it takes 10 READ MORE

Minute males

After a particularly bad storm you may find the shell of a paper nautilus Argonauta argo on the beach. This shell is as fragile as the name may suggest, and is secreted by the female paper nautilus, which is in fact an octopus. The delicate shell is white, patterned with wave-like ridges, and has two READ MORE

Cape cormorants

There are 15 species of seabirds that breed within southern Africa, of which the endemic cape cormorant Phalacrocorax capensis is one. Cape cormorants are one of the smaller cormorants found in the region. Adults of this species are uniformly black, with a bright yellow-orange gape at the base of the bill, which is grey-black. Cape READ MORE

A hermit crab’s mobile home

Many of us may have experienced the disappointment of picking up a beautiful shell on the beach only to find it inhabited by a sea creature, frequently a hermit crab, requiring it to be returned to the ocean. There are over 800 described species of hermit crabs, ten legged crustaceans with a soft abdomen, most READ MORE

A speedy sighting

While out on whale watching tour last week we were fortunate enough to experience a rare encounter with a Minke whale Balaenoptera bonaerensis, the smallest species of rorqual or baleanopterid whales. The Minke whale, like its close relative the Bryde’s whale, is known to be a shy animal as demonstrated by the individual we encountered. READ MORE

Humpback whales migrating.

Over the past few weeks we have started to see humpback whales passing through Plettenberg Bay on their southerly migration to their feeding grounds in the Antarctic Circle. Humpback whales frequently lift their tails above the water before diving which is always a beautiful sight. Did you know that the white pattern on the underside READ MORE

Amazing humpback whale sightings in Plettenberg Bay

We have had some great trips over the last few days with humpback whales migrating past Plettenberg Bay. The whales approached the boat, slapping their tails and flippers and occasionally swimming right underneath us. Humpbacks are known for being active and charismatic whales that often put on spectacular aerial performances.