Ask any young girl what her favourite animal is and she is sure to mention a dolphin at some point in the conversation. Known for their intellect and friendliness, dolphins have always fascinated me. The Raggy Charters Sea Cruise, the oldest marine eco-tour in Port Elizabeth, was the perfect vessel to see them up-close and immerse myself in the coastal beauty of Algoa Bay.
We gathered bright and early at the Port Elizabeth Yatch Club, ready for our ocean safari, with the sleek Raggy Charters boat in view. The boat is made from high-dense foam which does not sink.
The communication from the team was exceptionally professional, with updates on the expected conditions for the day of the trip out. Since a bit of rain was expected later that day, we made sure to layer up.
All guests then gathered around as our instructor shared information about the coast and the work that Raggy Charters does. The money from these excursions goes towards the cost of the trip itself (we traveled a total of 50km), maintenance of the boat, as well as most importantly, funding the research activities.
In order to offset their carbon footprint, Raggy Charters plants one tree for every trip it does. They also run an incentive scheme with the nearby fishing boats to not litter in the sea during their fishing season. All of this is done over and above the regular beach clean-ups they undertake in the Port Elizabeth area.
Safety was a top priority with detailed safety briefs before boarding. As an avid snacker I was most pleased with the additional snacks provided to guests on board.
We had barely left the harbour when we were spoiled with the site of dolphins dancing in the waves. The expert crew member knew just how to manoever the boat so that we were as close to the dolphins as possible without obstructing their journey. These dolphin sightings persisted throughout the trip and a flap of a fin became a familiar sight. Port Elizabeth has the highest concentration of bottle-nosed dolphins in the world with 28000 dolphins a year.
The trip takes the guests out to St Croix island where the African Penguins can be seen cuddling in the cold. The photo above depicts the vast number of penguins that used to be on the island in the 1950’s with a substantial drop in the population due to pollution and over fishing.
It was all smiles as we returned to base after 4 hours of education and entertainment from the Raggy Charters crew and the marine life that we got to witness. This marine eco tour remains a cut above the rest as guests are not only able to appreciate the beauty of nature, but know that through this trip, they are aiding efforts to preserve it.
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bye for now