Whales, sharks, and bungee jumps!

Day 6 started out well. We slept in a wonderful B+B,and had a great breakfast.

Unfortunately we slept too well and had too nice a breakfast and we missed the whale watch tour we had signed up for first thing in the morning. Oh well, it could be worse than spending 2 hours just hanging out on a beautiful South African beach!

Here is the beach and here is the boat we missed (and eventually went out on). We did get on our whale watch tour and had a blast! What we didn't know about South Africa is that in the winter there is a major migration of humpback and southern right whales (the latter being named because they were “just right” for hunting). Here are some of the humpback whales on their migration route to Madagascar. It was absolutely amazing!! We saw a mother and newborn….and two other whales started circling our boat in what seemed to be a way for mom and baby to swim away. Just incredible!

On the way back to shore we stopped by a seal colony:

 

These were African Fur Seals. These seals have external ears which apparently means that they can use their back legs for climbing (not sure exactly the relation between ears and legs but that was almost verbatim from our marine biologist guide). It's pretty impressive how high up the cliffs they are able to get.

For our next stop we decided to drive a little further east to Bloukrans Bridge.

It is a beautiful bridge. Turns out it is also the tallest bridge in South Africa at 216 meters (just over 700 feet). This makes it the worlds highest commercial bungee jump!!

 

Alex had so much fun he did it twice! Once forwards and once backwards! Personally, I had no intention of participating although the guys on the top of the bridge were quite convincing. The walk over to the jumping point was exciting enough for me :).

We do have pictures but they are on a disk so will will post them as soon as we can figure out how to get them onto the iPad.

After the exhilarating jumps we drove 5 hours west to gansbaai. This is the Shark capital of the world! We stayed at yet another great bed and breakfast and then headed off to our shark diving boat.

 

 

On this outing there was no scuba training necessary. Just the ability to get into a cage and hold your breath for 20 or 30 seconds. The guides chummed the water and then used the fish heads as a sort of lure to get the sharks near the cage. The result was pretty remarkable.

 

Arpita ready for her adventure!

 

The view from under the water was unreal. These sharks were close. It's pretty amazing to stare a great white in the eye. It was a lot of fun!!

 

….and in case you are wondering a helluva a lot more people are killed by toasters than sharks every year!!

After the shark dive we thought we would head to Stellenbosch which is the heart of South Africa Wine Country. Before we got there we decided to stop quickly in Hermanus to see if it would live up to its reputation. Well it did!

 

These were Southern right whales and there must have been at least 10 that we could see from shore.

We enjoyed watching so much we decided to get some dinner at a place over looking the bay. It was an incredible sight!

 

 

 

 

This happened several times while we were eating dinner! This is the only time we had ever seen a whale breach and we were able to do it from shore while drinking a beer and eating a burger! Not bad at all.

Our trip to South Africa has been a fantastic way to start off our travels. We have been so lucky to have incredible weather and practically no crowds. We've met some great people and seen some of the most amazing sights either of us have ever seen. Pretty cool its just the beginning. We head out to safari tomorrow so it may be awhile before we can post again.

 

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