Humpback whales spotted at Umdloti

Dozens of people and photographers gathered on La Mercy Beach yesterday morning as two mommy humpback whales - each with a calf - were spotted feeding close to shore, the Natal Sharks Board said.

Dozens of people and photographers gathered on La Mercy Beach yesterday morning as two mommy humpback whales - each with a calf - were spotted feeding close to shore, the Natal Sharks Board said.

The board's chief executive, Mike Anderson-Read, said the four had been seen together in waters north of the Umdloti River mouth since the early morning hours.

"They were all together but have now split into pairs. The whales attracted a lot of attention but this is not unusual at this time of the year," he said.

Humpback whales preferred feeding in shallow waters because it was safer for their young.

"After the calves have fattened up and the mommies have nurtured them, they'll start moving towards the Antarctic - probably by the end of November," he said.

With the peak of migration under way, at least 7000 humpback whales had been spotted off the coast.

"People love seeing this sort of event and right now they (the whales) are very close to shore," Anderson-Read said. - Sapa

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