Common Dolphins in Algoa Bay

Cruising Algoa Bay with Raggy Charters is like a luxury lucky packet. You kinda know what you could find, but when you do it like wow in overdrive. As a tourism marketer promoting the Eastern Cape I have spoken about Raggy Charters and promoted what Algoa Bay has to offer for years with so many invites to join them on a cruise. Something just always came up until I got to finally join them on a cruise a little while ago. Our first big wow of the cruise was a pod of Common Dolphins cashing a sardine bait ball. We followed the pod cameras clicking and at times it felt like the boat was going full tilt to keep up.

Common Dolphins (Delphinus Capensis) is the most widespread and abundant of all the dolphin species, and can be found in pods of up to 2 000. They are highly efficient at capturing small shoaling fish such as anchovies, pilchards and krill. Swimming at speeds of up to 60km/h they hunt down their prey and encircle them driving the shoal towards the surface and continuously tightening the circle around them.

And if you’re lucky, you get a shot like this…

Penguins and dolphins at St Croix

Port Elizabeth and Algoa Bay are promoted as the Bottlenose Dolphin capital of the world while St Croix Island has the biggest population of African Penguins in the world. I was lucky to get both species in one photo at St Croix on an outing with Raggy Charters a little while ago.

Bottlenose Capital of the World – It is estimated that a population of over 28 000 individual Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins make use of Algoa Bay and the surrounding ocean making it the biggest concentration of bottlenose dolphins in the world. The bottlenose dolphins occur in groups of between 10 and 400 individuals.

For more information – Bottlenose Dolphion Capital of the World

African Penguins – About 60% of the total global population of the endangered African Penguins live in Algoa Bay, 21 000 on St Croix, and 5 700 on Bird Island. Strange enough there isn’t a mainland population in the Eastern Cape and they only occur on the islands.

For more information – African Penguins

Orcas off Port Elizabeth with Expert Tours

Usually this time of the year the sardines start to gather off the Port Elizabeth coastline before they start their run up the east coast.  It gives divers and film crews the ideal opportunity to observe the bait balls along with all the dolphin, whale, shark and bird activity that accompanies it.  Expert Tours based here in Port Elizabeth does a number of tours out to see this phenomenon and a week or two ago they had the most amazing encounter with orcas off the coast.  Their footage have now been broadcast on international television and I got hold of the footage on YouTube to share with you today. 

Dolphin watching in Algoa Bay

Port Elizabeth and Algoa Bay was recently branded as the Bottlenose Dolphin Capital of the World because of the fact that the area is home to probably the biggest population of Bottlenose Dolphins in the world.  Join Lloyd Edwards and the team of Raggy Charters on a virtual cruise of Algoa Bay out to St Croix Island and along the beachfront to view the dolphins on this video and perhaps you may just decided to do it in real life next time around.

Port Elizabeth is the Bottlenose Dolphin Capital of the World

Last night I attended the launch of Port Elizabeth and Algoa Bay as the Bottlenose Dolphin Capital of the World at the Algoa Bay Yacht Club.  The initiative was the brainchild of Lloyd Edwards of Raggy Charters and isn’t sommer maar so.  It’s not like Lloyd just got up one morning and decided that he wants a new gimmick to promote the city and Algoa Bay with.  The tag comes with some hard facts.  Algoa Bay and the coastline around Port Elizabeth has close to 30 000 dolphins living here.  That is more than in any other one place in the world.  Over a period of 19 years Raggy Charters have seen dolphins on 90% of their cruises with pods ranging from 50 to 600 individuals.  I thought it was going to be a low key event but around 250 tourism peeps, ocean lovers, conservation people and even scientists came together and packed the Algoa Bay Yacht Club’s Chartroom and outside bar area. Wow, what a turnout and a good indication how much this means to the local community.  Now for us to take this and send it out to the world.

This is the SABC news article on the launch that aired this morning.  Janine Lee doing an excellent job getting news from the Bay out there as usual.

Dolphins on the beachfront

I don’t think people living in Port Elizabeth always realize how special Algoa Bay is.  African penguins, visiting whale (and sometimes even Orcas), dolphins, sardine run starting off our shores, different shark species, scuba diving, great fishing and so much more.  Algoa Bay is home to a couple of species of dolphins and you see pods of Bottlenose Dolphins swimming along our beachfront on just about a daily basis.

Driving along Marine Drive from the Boardwalk towards town I spotted a big pod of dolphins swimming along Kings Beach towards me at speed.  I changed lanes quickly and u-turned below Brookes-on-the-Bay, parking across the road.  By the time I was at the walkway railing most of them were past me already but I did catch a few of the back markers.  There is no way that these photos are anywhere near giving credit to the sighting.  It just made me appreciate a little bit more living in this beautiful place we call home.

Remembering Dolly and Domino

The dolphins at the Port Elizabeth Oceanarium at Bayworld was synonymous with Port Elizabeth for a very long time until the last two, Domino and Dumisa, was moved to a Ocean Park in Hong Kong.  Although they were moved there in 2009 already there are still out of town visitors that come to the city asking if there are dolphin shows.  This post isn’t about keeping dolphins in captivity, doing dolphin presentations or part of a debate whether we should have dolphins in PE again.  The post is about remembering Dolly and Domino who put PE on the map in many ways and shows footage from a show dating back to 2003 courtesy of John Sweet‘s YouTube channel.

Penguin Island Cruise with Raggy Charters video

At the recent 2nd annual South African Tourism Lilizela Awards Raggy Charters of Port Elizabeth won the Marine Experience category in the customer experience section.  It is a huge accomplishment not just for Lloyd Edwards and his team but also a feather in the cap of Port Elizabeth and Algoa Bay.  It proves that this area can compete with the best the rest of South Africa has to offer as far as marine experiences   I came across this video by Ellie Bottomley on YouTube that she made of their cruise out to St Croix Island and the sightings along the way.