Pygmy Sperm Whale stranded on Keurbooms Beach

On Friday 10 June 2011, a 2.97 m male Pygmy Sperm Whale washed ashore on Keurbooms beach in Plettenberg Bay, South Africa. The Pygmy Sperm Whale is one of three species of toothed whales in the sperm whale family. They are a pelagic species, which means they are found in open, deep water. Even though they are deep water mammals, they are very rarely seen out at sea. The weight of this particular specimen was not determined but fully grown adults can weigh up to 400 kg.

Their primary food includes squid and crabs and they have between 20-30 teeth. Not much is known about their breeding habits and their population numbers remain unknown. Pygmy Sperm Whales are mainly found in the temperate waters of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans.

The cause of death of this particular Pygmy Sperm Whale remains unknown. The Orca Foundation along with Port Elizabeth Bay World and Cape Nature performed a dissection on 14 June 2011 to determine the cause of death. Blubber samples were taken along with an analysis of its body and organs. Upon analysis, many parasites were found underneath the blubber however the parasites do not affect the health of the whale. The whale was bleeding internally and decay made it difficult to determine the exact cause of death. No shark wounds were found on the Pygmy Sperm Whale, however, abrasions, possibly from rocks, were found on the specimen. In 2010, four Pygmy Sperm Whales, of the same species, stranded on Robberg beach. Although Pygmy Sperm Whales are a rare sight, strandings are a common occurrence around the world.

 

If a stranded animal is found whether it be a bird, fish, dolphin or whale, dead or alive, please call the Orca Foundation on 082 782 4459 so that the animal can be rehabilitated and released back into the wild. For more information visit the Orca Foundation website at www.orcafoundation.co.za

.

Advertisements

Rocky Road to Heaven

   Words and pictures by Gero Lilleike 
 
Over the years I’ve learnt that the beauty in travelling lies in the mystery of adventure.  Finding a rare gem is rare but so is taking the road less taken and when it happens, it feels great. No matter where you are in the world, an extraordinary and unique experience is never too far away, just waiting to be discovered.  

The Rocky Road View

 

With adventure sitting on my shoulder and a pirate map in hand, I set out to find that gem. The road led to me to Natures Valley, the ‘Jewel’ of the Garden Route, where nature boasts her undisputable beauty, a remarkable place indeed. With the sun setting fast, I pressed on through the magnificent Groot River Pass towards The Crags, Plettenberg Bay.

 I soon reached The Crags and saw a sign, ‘Rocky Road’. Adventure tapped me on the shoulder and I hit a left onto a long, rocky ‘stofpad’ road. I arrived, taken aback by the astounding beauty of this place. Eureka, I found the gem and checked in. Rocky Reeder, the owner and legend, showed me to my luxury tent set in a beautiful garden with green pastures, forests and mountains painting a perfect country scene.

The Luxury Tent (Photo: Glen Murray)

 

As the setting sun fell behind the Tsitsikamma mountains, the cool, nippy air called for fire. Nothing beats a good old South African braai. Rocky and Marietjie, his partner, are master chefs and cook the tastiest, mouth-watering meals, much needed when the beast needs to feed.

The Fire

 

You are always bound to meet interesting folk at a backpackers, it’s the name of the game and Rocky Road Backpackers is no different. Kris ‘The Kiwi’ barman is a great guy, always making sure a cold beverage is sliding down the gullet. One of the highlights of Rocky Road Backpackers is the outdoor Hot Tub, driven by a wood fire furnace, it’s the best thing since sliced bread, especially in winter.

The Hot Tub

 

The Rocky Road Adventure Kitchen cooks up some great activity meals. The Garden Route offers a myriad of adventure options to satisfy any adrenalin junky. Some of the adrenalin charged activities include bungy jumping, skydiving, canopy tours, extreme hiking and many more. A hike into the Tsitsikamma forest is my cup of tea and the experience was simply surreal. It’s tough going but worth every step. Graceful streams make their journey to the sea and on the banks, forests rise to meet the bluest of skies, a truly splendid experience.

The Forest

 

 The accommodation at Rocky Road Backpackers is more than comfortable and makes for a peaceful nights sleep. Accommodation options include fully equipped luxury tents, dorm bed and bunk rooms and double rooms. Bathroom facilities are strategically placed in lush gardens and are uniquely and beautifully decorated, with a distinct natural outdoor fairy feel, a pleasure to behold.

The Fairy Bathroom

 

Rocky Road Backpackers is also home base for volunteers participating in active community development projects in nearby Kurland Village under the wings of Willing Workers in South Africa (WWISA). Rocky Road Backpackers is a special place. The warmth and friendliness that Rocky and Marietjie exude will make any traveller feel right at home.

The Cozy Rocky Road Lounge

If you are travelling on the Garden Route and find yourself in the vicinity of The Crags, Plettenburg Bay, find the Rocky Road to Heaven, it’s the place to be. For more information about Rocky Road Backpackers, visit http://www.rockyroadbackpackers.com

Orca Foundation

Orca Foundation

Conservation always begins with people and I have had the pleasure of collaborating with great people at the The Orca Foundation in Plettenberg Bay to share valuable information but also to raise awareness around conservation whether it be on land or in the sea. This is an ongoing mission and there is a lot more to come, so keep your eyes peeled. For now, here is some valuable information about the Orca Foundation.

You protect that which you love. If you have an understanding about the environment, you will learn to love it, if you love it, you will protect it. This is the motto of the Orca Foundation, a private initiative supported by the community of Plettenberg Bay and ensuring the sustained utilisation of marine and coastal resources through improved management, research and education. The conservation and protection of our environment starts with the awareness of issues that are affecting our environment. Only once we are aware can we actively participate in preserving our environment in meaningful and sustainable ways.

Founded by Ocean Blue Adventures, The Orca Foundation is a volunteer community committed to marine conservation in South Africa and its success depends on the dedicated willingness of others to further the volunteer and conservation ethics and pave the way for a better future. The Orca Foundation is involved in many ongoing research, conservation and education initiatives in the Plettenberg Bay area. I will be covering these initiatives in more detail in the weeks ahead, but for now take the time to visit the Orca Foundation website at http://www.orcafoundation.co.za and learn more about the awesome work they are doing to save our oceans.

Year Of Our Ocean, YOOO can make a difference. Peace.

World Ocean Day 2011

Year Of Our Ocean is dedicated to the conscious preservation of our beautiful mother ocean, each and every day. June 8 2011 marks World Ocean Day serving the same pupose, raising awareness around the state and future of our oceans that make life on earth possible. This very second, thousands, probably hundreds of thousands, even millions of tons of garbage is finding its way into our oceans and threatning sea life worldwide.

Each and every person can make a difference, whether it be picking up litter in your street or cleaning up your local beach. Every bit helps towards creating an environment where all sea creatures may live out their days as intended. We are responsible for our mess,  we need to change and change begins within. Our oceans need us, now more than ever. Lets do this, together. YOOO can make the difference.

Here’s some advice from Laird Hamilton and Gabrielle Reece on fighting pollution and saving our oceans.  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VPf1DZm8pl8

The Easy Tiger Phenomenon

Words by Gero Lilleike

Easy Tiger

The tale of this musical phenomenon called Easy Tiger is embroiled in mystery and to this day very little is known about how this great band actually formed. However, rumour has it that Italian stallion Ric Gualtieri, the lead vocalist, was holidaying in Mozambique some years ago and with a few litres of beer in his belly, found himself singing blissfully into the African night with the local folk. It was quite possibly on this glorious night that Ric realised his extraordinary potential as an entertainer, singer, song writer and musician.

Ric Gualtieri

Ric returned to Johannesburg and soon had his old time friend Dale Orchard, a bass extraordinaire, joining him on a musical adventure, a relationship that would prove invaluable in the years to follow. The hunt was officially on for a lead guitarist. Ric pooled his resources and set his eager sights on a Greek virtuoso by the name of Galan Le Roux who would be instrumental in fulfilling the coveted role of lead guitar for the newly formed band.

Dale "Sugar Bear" Orchard

The magical trio put their heads together and managed to produce a handful of potentially epic songs.  The magical trio however realised that the songs needed a solid percussion foundation that would add the necessary colour to take the songs over the musical edge. The magical trio were now searching  for a drummer. Being well connected, Galan soon found the solution and a fine young chap by the name of G-Foot joined the band. Together they worked tirelessly to produce and enhance the songs that lay before them and the pressing urge for live performances became a reality, but they needed a name.

Galan Le Roux

After some debate, Easy Tiger was born and soon they were playing at local venues around Johannesburg and the confidence within the band grew with every show. Then the unthinkable happened. While busting out the beat to ‘House of Pain’, a groovy upbeat song, G-Foot snapped a tendon in his foot and was out for the count. With G-Foot limping out the band, Dale called upon the legendary Travis Mein to take the reins as groove master.

Travis Mein

Easy Tiger grew from strength to strength, and as the months passed, their live performances started turning heads. Easy Tiger soon found themselves in the limelight with their hit song ‘Love Stung Child’ hitting the radio waves, managing to remain No.1 on the 94.7 Homebrew Chart for 8 weeks. This achievement set the tone and Easy Tiger went on to wow audiences at Joburg Day and Lusito Land. With songs such as ‘The Bored & The Lonely’ achieving radio play there is no guessing about the future that lies before Easy Tiger. In 2011, Easy Tiger released the music video for ‘Love Stung Child’, to view the music video click here.

Along with cleverly written lyrics, Easy Tiger combine various musical styles, from Afro Funk, Jazz, Indy Rock, Pop and Rock to create songs that are truly easy to listen to and difficult to forget. Although Easy Tiger’s musical style is simply unique and effective, they seem to tap into the very essence of what music is all about, having fun. Their live performances always kick up dust and Easy Tiger pride themselves in entertaining their listeners to no end. The personalities making up Easy Tiger are not only amazing characters in themselves but their fun-loving attitudes towards life are directly reflected in the sweet songs they produce.

Easy Tiger

To find out more about this phenomenal South African band, search for them on Facebook or visit their website at www.easytigerband.com Easy Tiger’s album “Spectacular Failures & Bad Behaviour” is also available for free download, so there’s simply no excuse to not have Easy Tiger pumping all day long. Even better, try see them live, they will simply blow your mind away. Enjoy.