Ocean Ventures gives you the opportunity to get up close and personal with dolphins, sea birds, turtles and all the other sea life that the South African KwaZulu-Natal coastline has to offer!
"The weather finally gave us a break and the trip was on, packed ourselves into the car and rushed off to Ushaka for our ‘dolphin watching’ excursion.
The sea looked like a lake it was so smooth, we were greeted by Bonni who I had been liasing with via email, she is very warm and friendly and made you feel right at home immediately. We were invited to keep our personal belongings in the lockers provided in their offices at Ushaka. Paul the manager then gave us our life vests and explained what was going to happen during the course of the trip, he is the manager and personally took us on the boat trip. He was wonderful especially with my daughter who was clearly a little nervous never having been on a ski boat before out to sea. He made us all feel very comfortable and at ease.
There are watertight compartments under your seats so camera’s / phones / light windbreakers or jerseys can be kept on you whilst on the boat inside these compartments.
The boat met us on the beach, we waded up to our knees through the water to get onto the boat. Taking our places and holding tight (ok some of us ‘gripping’ the bars)! We were taken out past the shark nets, inside the shark nests considered ‘bathing area’ and the ski boats are not permitted on the inside of the nets. Once outside of the shark nets Paul explained that should we want him to go slower or saw anything in the water we were to raise our hands and he would stop the boat immediately. We were told the ride would take us up to Umhlanga and then back.
Off we went, all eagerly keeping our eyes peeled to the water looking for dolphins/turtles or anything else we could see. Unfortunately we were not lucky enough to see any sea life although that could have been from the high pitched screams coming from the boat, ok from me and my daughter but honestly they were shrieks of laughter!! The boat reaches speeds of over 100km per hour so where some parts of the sea got a ‘tad choppy’ it felt like we were on a roller coaster ride for free.
We could see each stretch of the beachfront and the various ‘landmarks’ along the coastline – Suncoast casino/the gorgeous soccer stadium to name a few – we stopped to take some photo’s and carried on our journey up to Umhlanga. Unfortunately for us the water got a bit rough as we got closer to Umhlanga and had no choice but to return to the Durban beach front area but were treated to ‘figures of 8’ and ‘donuts’ as well as a speed boat ride which was glorious with the wind blowing in your face as though you are speeding on top of the water. It truly was a great experience and I would highly recommend one of the many adventures this company offers – Seafari Explorer (1 hour trip) / Ocean Kayaking (charged per hour) / Kitesurfing is the new addition (choose from two or four hour lessons) / Extreme adventurer (30 mins) and Surf the Waves (charged per hour).
Both the staff and the experience was a wonderful experience for our family to do together, although there is an age restriction from 5 years onwards for kids own safety. Not to be missed by the family for something different to do together."
While the whales are now moving past KZN, you will see resident bottlenose dolphins year round, in large playful pods. Look out for albatross, Cape gannet, sub Antarctic skua, Terns as well as predators associated with the sardine run such as common dolphins, Brydes and Minke whales.
Contact 086 100 1138, www.oceanventures.co.za for more info.