A special message from our pilot (whale)
Nikki Chapman, who spearheaded the WhaleTime project has stepped down to pursue other ventures. She has shared a special message about the project and her experience as project coordinator. Nikki has been responsible for WhaleTime's successes and we wish her the best of luck!
Managing the WhaleTime project has been a very rewarding experience. Especially managing it from its birth and during its infancy stages. I have watched the project grow from strength to strength, met some amazing people and had the most fantastic opportunities one of which was the chance to attend the World Whale Conference.
The project plunged right in and in one short year we managed to recruit and train 10 tour guides from Umlazi the first 5 of who helped to develop the Whale Time tour available at the maritime museum in Durban. This has been hugely successful thanks to a partnership that has blossomed between the Coastal Collage, The Maritime museum and Whale Time. These guides are now being exposed to boat based whale watching opportunities as guides and I look forward to seeing where the oceans take them.
The research aims of the project have had a slower take off however they are making headway. The aim of creating a photo an identification catalogue for the East Coast Humpback whales incorporating the whales that migrate past our coast line annually is now moving forward swiftly and we still very much would like the public's involvement via the citizen science project where you can upload your images on the Whale Time website.
Along with SODURBA we hosted the very first Whale Festival in Durban, Bluff this year which was just so much fun, great turn out even the whales came to say hi. This tied in nicely with Durban being the host for the World Whale Conference.
I have now stepped down from the project in order to focus on the Ocean Stewards programme and have handed over to the very capable Rachel Kramer to manage Whale Time. She has taken her role on with great enthusiasm and already made huge progressive steps for the project in terms of the research. I look forward to watching the project continue to expand and involve the citizens of KZN.