Yzerfontein .info

"Mare Didat, Flores Decorant"

(suggestions welcomed)

terms of use


Since the days of the earliest humans and before, whales have graced the coastal waters of the Cape. They are found in great numbers all around the coast from Saldanha in the west to Mosselbay in the east and even further up along the coastline.

Today they are a tourist attraction and are protected by international as well as local laws. This was not the case in times past.

Southern Right Whale

With the arrival and subsequent wrecking of the ship Nieuw Haarlem back in 1647 the presence of whales in Cape waters was noted. After Jan van Riebeeck set up a refreshment station for the Dutch East India Company in 1652 whale hunting became a reality.

The first whale hunters were sent by Van Riebeeck to Saldanha Bay in 1653 to try their hands at catching a whale or two. They were not very succesful as the water in the bay was too shallow and allowed the whale to keep its strength after being harpooned. When this happened boats were dragged out to sea by the whales and it became rather dangerous for the whalers. Because of this the Dutch gave up whaling.

next page