It's the 8th East African Humpback Whale Synchronised Watching Day Saturday 13th August- Join the Fun in Watamu Kenya
Come on Kenya! Will we be the winners this year and spot the most humpback whales? Take a picnic onto the headland and islands and enjoy the view in Watamu
8th EAST AFRICAN SYNCHRONISED WHALE WATCHING DAY Saturday 13 August 2016
Sightings of whales started well though late this season with great reports of whales from Mozambique and Tanzania. New reporter on the block Sean "Never Say Never" Delange fisherman, along side the seasoned reporters Pete "Alleycat" Darnborough and Hassan Makame in watamu
Dr Matt Richmond has been coordinating the East African Network and has some great professional advice abouthow to watch whales. This is the eighth time this is attempted, a synchronised whale- watching day, with whale watching groups on the look out for humpback whales for a full day, usually over a fixed area of view and from a fixed location (and usually between 6:30 am and 6:30 pm, depending on latitude). The top of lighthouses or prominent headlands continue to be the best locations for this activity, though to be aboard a sailing boat is equally enjoyable!
We hope to have participation from many of the following locations:
- Watamu, N Kenya
- Vipingo, central Kenya
- Kisite-Mpunguti GVI Team, S Kenya
- Fish Eagle Point, N Tanzania
- Maziwe Island, N Tanzania
- Ras Dege, central Tanzania
- Fanjove Island Lighthouse, central Tanzania
- Mikindani Bay, S Tanzania
- Mnazi Bay area, S Tanzania
- Vamizi Island, N Mozambique
- Tofu, Inhambane, S Mozambique
- Ponta Douro, S Mozambique
For those new to the routine, this involves attempting to watch the Indian Ocean from different locations along the eastern African coast for a full day (see procedures below). Why? To attempt to throw light on actually how many humpback whales visit these shores each year and better understand their distribution. And, have a good time do it!
As always, a few things to think about in preparation:
1. Good binoculars (ESSENTIAL), or telescope, and a camera with a zoom lens;
2. Note pad and pencil (ESSENTIAL) or a printed recording table (see below/attached);
3. Radio, CD player or iPod (to keep you company)
4. Water or drinks and food; coffee good for mid afternoon to keep you sharp and awake, especially if the wind picks up and sea surface
become choppy, needing more work to focus.
5. Hat and sun cream (for the fair-skinned watchers);
6. Cushion or comfortable chair (ESSENTIAL).
DO IT IN TWOS
We suggest that at least for company (and safety) that each watching shift (of for example 2-3 hours) be covered by two people. That makes it more fun and one person can be watching the ocean while the other writes down the data (or reads the newspaper, makes the sandwiches, or does some fishing!). If you do it in pairs for two hours at a time, six participants can cover the whole day with each pair doing two shifts. EASY!
Make no mistake, MOST OF THE TIME YOU WILL NOT SEE ANY WHALES! But, there's always something to see. Depending on your location, you may also see dolphins, turtles, billfish, seabirds (DON'T LOOK AT THE SUN!), dynamite blasts, other fishing activities, etc. You may end up seeing so many different things that you could write it all up as "A day looking at sea" and tell a fascinating short story of the things that happened that day.
On a serious note, counting whales can be tricky sometimes, but we should try to avoid counting the same whales twice. You need to really watch them and judge their whereabouts (and where they might surface next and blow), mindful of their slow cruising speed of 6-10 km per hour, and that they'll be up for breaths again every 15-20 minutes. Often you'll see the same group blow twice before they are out of sight. Check for the rhythm of blows especially between adults and young.
Please get your sightings typed up, or on paper, and eventually in an email to us. Try not to leave it too late.
Eyes on the ocean!
Also see: http://www.watamu.biz/