WHALE HERITAGE SITE: AN INVITATION TO JOIN THE PLANTING OF A SPEKBOOM WHALE

13th November 2021 // City Lodge Marine Drive

THE PLANTING OF A SPEKBOOM WHALE ON MARINE DRIVE IN FRONT OF CITY LODGE. A CELEBRATION OF ALGOA BAY BEING DECLARED A WHALE HERITAGE SITE. Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism (NMBT) in conjunction with Raggy Charters and the Baywatch Project invites the general public and all organisations who made up the Whale Heritage Site Steering Committee, and their members, who supported the campaign to have Algoa Bay declared a Whale Heritage Site, to join us on Saturday 13th November at 9am, to build a life-size 14m whale. Members of the public are also welcome. The Baywatch Project has been growing hundreds of spekboom cuttings during the last three years. All you need to bring is a spade and potting soil, if you have. Algoa Bay was declared a Whale Heritage Site on the 16th June 2021. The Baywatch Project, which is funded by Raggy Charters, has been doing critical marine conservation for 30 years in Algoa Bay and led the Whale Heritage Site initiative. Spekboom was chosen as it has the best carbon fixing abilities of any plant on the planet. Besides the spekboom whale, the project rehabilitates wetlands in the Eastern Cape and plants at least one tree for every marine cruise undertaken. The Whale Heritage Sites (WHS) are an initiative of the World Cetacean Alliance (WCA). They are a global network of outstanding places where local communities celebrate, respect and protect cetaceans and their habitats.

The WCA declared Algoa Bay as the world’s 5th Whale Heritage Site as it had gone a long way to empower and defend the right of local communities to care and protect whales and dolphins through a collaborative management partnership. The site showcases a community and their relationship with the ocean by encouraging respectful human-cetacean coexistence – celebrating cetaceans in local culture, arts and events, supporting local economic and environmental sustainability; and developing locally based science, research and education. For the tourism industry, WHS provides a clear marker to help and support SUSTAINABLE practices and create a platform for communities to engage with marine culture, heritage and biodiversity.

The Whale Project and the Whale Heritage SiteIt could have not been more fitting. We took a film crew out into Algoa Bay to capture some footage for a documentary to celebrate Algoa Bay being declared a Whale Heritage Site. As we left port we saw our first humpback whale. This was followed by some Cape gannets feeding on the mass of bait fish present in the bay. Next stop was at Black Rocks to view the South African fur seals. We screamed through the breakers around Bird Island at low tide and made the safety of the jetty, quite nerve wracking!Bird Island was magnificent as usual. The noise of the 250 000 strong Cape gannet colony was thunderous. The African penguins were molting and all over the place. We managed to complete the interviews in front of the gannet and penguin colonies and then headed back through the breakers to Woody Cape. We were then treated to the most amazing antics of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins surfing the waves. This must be the best place on the planet to photograph these amazing majestic animals . . . free from any form of captivity and in right in the middle of the newly proclaimed Addo Marine Protected Area.Please join us this Saturday 13th November at 9am in front of City Lodge on Marine Drive to plant out Spekboom in the form of a full size Humpback Whale to celebrate Algoa Bay being declared a Whale Heritage Site. Just bring your spade and any compost, we have all the Spekboom.

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