About a month ago, our boat captains spotted the first humpback whales of the season just offshore of Fanjove. This is a point of annual excitement as the whales make their migration from their cold Antarctic feeding grounds to warmer water to breed.
The following days have brought more big splashes as we continued to see the whales from the boat, the shore and on one lucky occasion, right in front of the restaurant!
With them, the humpbacks have brought a huge hum of anticipation to the island, and it is not unusual to see captains and guests alike dropping everything they’re doing and running towards the boats when they hear the word “whale!” to try and view the giants closer.
You might expect that a whale measuring up to 16 metres in length and weighing in some cases 30 metric tonnes, would be easy to spot – you’d be surprised. For as impressive and powerful as the humpback whales are, in equal measures they are elusive and shy.
However being patient can be immensely rewarding; for one extremely lucky group of guests, we found ourselves in a sighting where our whale was so relaxed that we were able to cut the boat engine then slip into the water with masks and fins and swim with the enormous beauty. We observed in sheer admiration, as our 12 metre friend repeatedly dived in the shallow water then surfaced again, surrounded by relaxed bottlenose dolphins and miniscule yellow fish that gave a delightful sense of scale. We remained in awe as the relaxed humpback stayed with us for a remarkable hour as we took turns to swim in small groups.
In addition to welcoming the whales back, we were also glad to say karibu to a film troupe who visited us to document our marine conservation project. They divided their time between the ongoing projects on Fanjove and the community development on neighbouring SongoSongo Island. Although they were too early for the whales, they were lucky enough to observe a grey shark whilst diving!
Newly hatched green turtle makes it to the ocean
We had quite a surprise on the morning of the 26th because our first turtle nest began to hatch at 8am. The nest was running late and we were concerned that it may have been spoiled by encroaching high tides.
Our staff and guests gathered to see 33 little turtles make a short passage to the sea. The following morning to our delight, at almost exactly the same time a further 7 turtles hatched. We wished them luck as they began their safari in the sea and we hope we can see them again one day, perhaps diving!
written by the managers and staff at Fanjove Private Island, Songosongo, Tanzania
Guest Comments at Fanjove in July 2017:
”Had a lovely time on this beautiful island. Wonderful to hear about the ethical and environmentally sustainable mission of this resort & company. Accommodation, food, hosts, staff – all wonderful. Hope to return again soon!”
Dennis Sun 07/07/17
”Thank you so much for looking after us so well. There are so many great things we could mention but here are just a few:
- Othmani coming to greet us on the water’s edge with water and cool flannels after each snorkeling session.
- A seahorse, what a treat, and on my first ever scuba! (Thanks Hakim)
- Laura’s accompanied snorkel trips, we would never have seen a fish without you!
- Johan’s colourful shirts”
Marcus & Natalie 12/07/17
”What a paradise!
The most beautiful island we have ever visited. All the people were wonderful and the food was excellent – everything had a touch of elegance. We are definitely coming back very soon, that you so much for a fantastic vacation!”
Sandra, Ingrid, Alex & Fredrik 17/07/17
“The most magic place I’ve ever seen in the world! So gonna miss it… Hope I’ll see you again. Thanks for everything”