Cast in Stone : The Cradle of Human Culture.

“I think you need to come and look at this again” called Dr Martin Lockley. Dr Charles Helm, his wife Linda and myself were walking away from an overhang of aeolianite with a series of fossilized tracks on the under surface to look at another series of fossil tracks which Dr Helm describes as a work of art. When an ichnologist and paleontologist as renowned … Continue reading Cast in Stone : The Cradle of Human Culture.

Whale Strandings – the harsh reality of nature.

In the past 6 months there have been over 10 whale carcasses washed up, including a rare Sperm Whale, in the Garden Route. Depending on where they washed up, their handling varied from leaving them in situ to burying them or removing the remains for disposal elsewhere. Where possible, sampling was performed for DNA profiling and parasite collection. Generally, with the carcasses there is a … Continue reading Whale Strandings – the harsh reality of nature.

Brackenhill Waterfall.

A little known, though spectacular, waterfall in the Garden Route is the Brackenhill Waterfall. A popular tourist destination in the early 1990’s, it has slipped from the sport light since access was limited by the landowners concerned about the fire risk to surrounding pine plantations. The waterfall is located on the Witelsrivier, one of the network of tributaries of the Noetsie River, and is access … Continue reading Brackenhill Waterfall.

Birding for the namesake of Knysna

The message on Saturday afternoon simple : I will be in the Garden Route on Monday and would like to photograph a Knysna Woodpecker and a Knysna Warbler. Can you help? August Birding in the Garden Route can be extremely fickle, very much dependent on which way the wind blows. A week of South westerly winds can drop the temperature and blast the birds into … Continue reading Birding for the namesake of Knysna

Preliminary Sperm Whale autopsy report.

Date: Sunday 2nd September 2018 Location : Swartvlei Beach By Mark Dixon. Late Sunday morning the much awaited autopsy of the beached Sperm Whale carcass got underway. Joining the research team were Dr Stephanie Plon from NMU with Dr Greg Hofmeyr from Bayworld visiting briefly while en route to Cape Town. The most noticeable external observation was of the advanced onset of bloat that had … Continue reading Preliminary Sperm Whale autopsy report.

Rare incidence of a Sperm Whale washing up on Swartvlei Beach beach in the Garden Route.

Date : Sat 1st September Location : Swartvlei Beach Sperm Whale washed ashore. By Mark Dixon It is remarkable that in the past two months no less than two whales have washed up on Swartvlei Beach east of Sedgefield. Even more remarkable is the fact that both whales washed up a few hundred meters apart, testimony to the consistency of currents along the shoreline. The … Continue reading Rare incidence of a Sperm Whale washing up on Swartvlei Beach beach in the Garden Route.

Death Of a Whale

By Mark Dixon Friday 29th June 2018 Today, in the Garden Route, we witnessed the indifference of natural selection. Yet for those present, there was an empathy for one of the giants of the ocean. One year ago I swam with Humpback Whales during the Sardine run in the Eastern Cape. Today I watched one die. The scientist in me took notes. The bloodshot eyes … Continue reading Death Of a Whale