Most Recent Volunteers

When we arrived on a windy and rainy week in early November to volunteer with Raggy Charters at Port Elizabeth, we didn´t know what to expect. Our reasons to come herewere mainly because of Raggy Charters´s reputation in the conservationist field, his partnership with World Cetacean Alliance and its connection with local community. We stayed there for more than 6 weeks and learnt about their conservation programme and their involvement with environmental education focused on marine wildlife. But to be honest, we also went there to enjoy nice weather and see tons of animals, and we did!

In our frequent trips to St. Croix and Bird Island, we have seen many humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in their migration route to Antarctica, where they spend the austral summer feeding, which means lots of mother-calf couples leaping, breaching, lob-tailing and displaying all kind of imaginable tricks (a pleasure for any wildlife passionate). Apart fromthem, more cetaceans have been around us, such as mega-pods of common dolphins (Delphinus capensis), bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus), Sei (Balaenoptera borealis -arare encounter next to the port), Bryde’s (Balaenoptera brydei) and Minke whales(Balaenoptera acutorostrata).

Thanks to these trips that Raggy Charters is performing as the only whale watching operator in Algoa Bay to fund their conservation projects, we were lucky not only to have very close encounters with cetaceans but also to see the world biggest colony of clumsy African Penguins (Spheniscus demersus) on St. Croix -you can have fun seeing these little ones trying toreach the island from the water; and next to Bird Island a colony of Cape Fur Seals (Arctocephalus pusillus)– cute and comical animals but cattle-smelly like when you get closer to them! Beside penguins, birdlife has also made a huge impression on us: Cape Gannets (Morus capensis), seagulls, terns, petrels, cormorants and a very polite heron which would say“good morning” to you every single day in the harbour.

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Apart from that, we were involved in few research projects such as fish and sea bird surveys which can last forever (data compilation in science may be tiring but rewarding so you can spend many hours at sea and get tune!), beach surveys in which we got permission to drive into the protected beaches of Alexandria Dune Fields and Maitland in order to collect data from dead animals like seabirds or stranded cetaceans and save a dying turtle! Thanks to this collaboration between Raggy Charters, University and Port Elizabeth Museum, we have assisted to few necropsies of cape fur seals, sub-antartic seals (Arctophoca tropicalis) and elephant seal (Mirounga leonina -sounds amazing and we learnt a lot, but the smell was….irresistible xD).

But not everything was going to be about “working”. We have been discovering this incredible land, visiting game reserves, national parks (giraffes, zebras, elephants, rhinos, lions,cheetahs or ostriches among many others animals have crossed our path), being amused by the huge biodiversity in this corner of the planet and tasting a bit south African culture, with special reference to “Braais” (these people have made a whole culture around BBQ, which is agreat experience itself).

To sum up, it has been an incredible experience thanks to people like James, Jake, Kerry, Greg or Lloyd, and we have enjoyed a lot. Now, we have a lot of anecdotes to tell and a nice skin colour to make our friends jealous back in cold Europe. See you soon!

A glimpse of us.

Rodrigo is a Spanish environmentalist with a Master in Ecosystem Restoration, passionate about wildlife, photography and especially about environmental education. Now working as a naturalist in a whale watching company in Iceland, he is always looking forward to improve his knowledge and learn from nature.
Rodrigo is a Spanish environmentalist with a Master in Ecosystem Restoration, passionate about wildlife, photography and especially about environmental education. Now working as a naturalist in a whale watching company in Iceland, he is always looking forward to improve his knowledge and learn from nature.
Ewa is Animal Science engineer from Poland with passion for all kinds of animals and nature. Believing that everything is connected, from leafs on the trees, through feathers on birds wings to fish in the depth oceans, all the time trying to learn more about environment and spreading this knowledge, working as naturalist and guide on whale watching tours.
 

Rodrigo - Raggy Charters Volunteer

 

Ewa - Raggy Charters Volunteer

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