Life-sized plastic whale tackles pollution awareness + where to sea the real deal in SA

2018-10-15 09:19
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Artists are putting the finishing touches on a 24-meter-long blue whale made from discarded plastic that will be on display near San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge to raise awareness about ocean pollution.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium said on Friday a blue whale can weigh 136 000 kilograms — about the amount of plastic scientists say enters the ocean every nine minutes.

SEE: MSC Cruises' last straw for single-use plastic on their global fleet

A 2015 study by Jenna Jambeck, an environmental engineer at the University of Georgia, found 8 million metric tonnes of plastic waste enter the ocean annually.

The sculpture created from plastic water bottles, lids and bags by artists Joel Deal Stockdill and Yustina Salnikova will be publicly unveiled on Saturday.

It is located in Crissy Field, the heart of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

It is sponsored by the aquarium in partnership with the National Park Service and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.

SEE: Fishing for plastic: Would you do this along the canals of Amsterdam? 

Artist Joel Deal Stockdill, lower right, works on

Artist Joel Deal Stockdill, lower right, works on a blue whale art piece made from discarded single-use plastic at Crissy Field. (Photo: Eric Risberg)

Jared Chen works at reinforcing panels inside a bl

Jared Chen works at reinforcing panels inside a blue whale art piece made from discarded single-use plastic at Crissy Field. (Photo: Eric Risberg) 

But where you can see non-plastic whales in SA?

Luckily in South Africa you can see the real deal sans plastic. South Africa's coastline is a popular haunt for the giants of the deep, and now is the best time to go see these beauties being their best selves in the water.

PICS: A record 1 347 whales off De Hoop coastline

These are the top spots to see all the action:  

The West Coast

On the Cape West Coast, excellent sightings of southern rights can be enjoyed all the way from Strandfontein to Lambert's Bay, Elands Bay, St Helena Bay, Saldanha Bay and Yzerfontein, just north of Cape Town. Even in the bays of Cape Town southern right whales are frequently spotted. If you’re one of the lucky few, you may even see them from the road along the False Bay coast, or on the scenic coastal Victoria Road. If you don’t want to rely on luck, book a trip with the pros.

READ: West Coast Way: SA's road trip with the most twists

(Photo: iStock)

Hermanus and Walker Bay 

The most popular whale watching destination in SA, Hermanus welcomes local and international visitors to its shores to get a glimpse of the migrating creatures while taking in the natural beauty of the coastal town.

The Hermanus Whale Festival, that started 26 years ago, allows visitors to celebrate the migration of Southern Right Whales and other marine wildlife with ocean-themed activities and exhibitions, emphasising education and environmentally responsible adventures and activities.

There is real commercial value behind the incredibly popular Hermanus whale season. The whales really do come up close to the shore here, and they're quite amiable in disposition towards people it would seem.

WATCH: Whale super-pods have made SA coast their regular buffet table

(Photo: iStock)

Mossel Bay 

If you’re after the Killers, Mossel Bay might be a good place to start looking. Hiking the St Blaize Trail will give you a good view of the bay below, where you can spot southern rights, humpbacks, Bryde’s whales or the deadly killer whales feeding on seals on the island in the bay. If you want to go out to sea and get really close, book a trip with the boat operators in Plettenberg Bay, further along the Garden Route.

(Photo: iStock)

The Wild Coast

From Cape St Francis onwards, the cliff-lined coast gives some of the best vantage points from where to see Humpbacks, Bryde's whales, and further north towards Port St Johns, even sperm whales. Dolphins are also abundant in this area. You can spot them from land, or opt for a whale watching boat ride.

WATCH: A Holidaymaker's Guide to SA's Wild Coast

(Photo: iStock)

St Lucia

This is humpback whale territory, which stretches as far as Cape Vidal. The whales always stay in the perimeters of the coastline. From mid-May to mid-September, they move more north to breed off the Mozambique coast, and from September to December they return, on route to the nutrient-rich waters of Antarctica.

ALSO SEE: #EcoTravels: Turning turtle poachers into custodians in iSimangaliso

(Photo: iStock)

Eastern Cape

During the months of May to December Humpback whales and Southern Right Whales arrive along the Eastern Cape coast.

One of the best parts of whale watching along the Eastern Cape coast is that you don’t need a boat ride into the ocean to see the whales – they are clearly visible with just a pair of binoculars so get out there and enjoy this wonder of nature!

WATCH: A holidaymaker's guide to SA's Sunshine Coast

(Photo: iStock)