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Overview
RRaggy Charters has won 6 major Tourism/Environmental Awards during the last two years. It is the only company licensed for both boat-based whale and dolphin watching and white shark cage diving in Algoa Bay. We offer clients a personalised ocean experience where they have the opportunity to see whales, dolphins, seals, sharks, penguins and other seabirds in Algoa Bay. We have recently been awarded the rights to the White Shark Cage Diving in Algoa Bay and now will be the only company in South Africa to be able to offer the Big 7 Tour. This tour will be one of a kind in marine tours in South Africa. It will be a full day tour covering around 140 km and will not only cover shark cage diving but also whale and dolphin watching, sardine run action, seal viewing, observing the largest gannetry on the planet, the history of Bird Island, the Woody Cape section of Addo Elephant National Park, the Alexandria Dunefields which are the largest in the Southern Hemisphere, early Khoi history and settlements, and visit St Croix Island to see the 23 000 endangered African penguins. Nowhere else in the world will such a tour exist! We are dedicated to providing an educational and personal experience with the marine life found in our bay, showing guests as much wildlife as possible during our cruises, whilst educating them on the marine environment and its vital need for conservation. Our Visitor Experience superiority is confirmed by the fact that we have been rated # 1 on Trip Advisor for the last 5 years of the 6 marine tours and of the 33 outdoor tours offered in the Metro. Raggy Charters was established in 1997 in order to fund the Baywatch Marine Conservation Project which was founded in 1992. The project is dedicated to marine conservation and research in Algoa Bay. One of our cruises is to St Croix Island, which is home to the largest breeding colony of African penguins in the world. These endangered birds have rapidly declined, losing 70% of their numbers in 9 years. Raggy Charters has assisted our award winning resident scientist, Dr Lorien Pichegru, on a weekly basis, in researching the reasons for this decline. Due to the results achieved, the whole eastern portion of Algoa Bay is about to be declared a Marine Protected Area. This is the best option available in order to preserve the remaining penguin population. We recently won the BirdlifeSA Owl Award for “outstanding contribution to the conservation of birds and their habitats”. Between June and December we find the ‘gentle giants’, both humpback and Southern right whales. They travel thousands of kilometres to use the safe and warm shores of Africa as their breeding grounds. Humpback whales are well known for their acrobatic breaches and they never fail to amaze here in Algoa Bay, as we see 7000 of them passing by. Southern right whales prefer the shallower waters and seem to really enjoy getting close up and personal with our guests as they lazily roll and dive around the boat. We are lucky to boast the best bottlenose dolphin sightings in the world as 28 500 individuals make use of Algoa Bay. Their numbers are ever increasing, as we constantly see calves amongst the often 600-strong pods. We recently launched Algoa Bay as the Bottlenose Dolphin Capital of the World. The launch was attended by 350 people, including the Minister of Tourism, the CEO of Eastern Cape Parks and the CEO of Nelson Mandela Tourism who jointly hosted the event. We recently set up and trained a whale and dolphin spotting group who make sure that we get our clients to see dolphins on almost 99% of our cruises, surely a world record! Between February and June each year we get to witness the incredible Southern sardine run. Guests sit spellbound watching the feeding frenzies with thousands of common dolphins launching through the waves trying to herd the fish in to a ball, with Cape gannets and other seabirds dive-bombing the shoal. Penguins, seals, sharks and game fish help themselves to the feast and then bryde’s & minke whales wait until the end to finish the school off, as they lunge through the water, mouths open wide, engulfing anything in their path. This year Raggy Charters hosted our 7th BBC film crew who are including this phenomenon in their latest documentary which will be narrated by Sir David Attenborough and entitled “The Perfect Planet”. It will be watched by an estimated 200 million people. This series will have a massive long term effect on the flow of international tourists to Port Elizabeth and the rest of South Africa. Our bay is also home to 270,000 Cape gannets breeding on Bird Island, and 6000 Cape fur seals at Black Rocks. We see humpback dolphins mostly in the summer months. It is during this time that the surface is covered with the tiny fins of baby hammerhead sharks. During the winter months, apart from the migratory whales, we run marine bird cruises to find albatrosses, petrels, terns and other pelagic bird species! In order to promote a whale culture in the Eastern Cape, Raggy Charters has organised the "Celebrating the arrival of the Whales to Algoa Bay Festival". This event will be held on Youth Day, 16th June 2018. Admission is free and the festival will be opened by the Mayor, the CEO of Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism, the head of the Algoa Bay Hope Spot and the owner of Raggy Charters. There will be talks on the Northern migration of Humpback whales and documentaries screened about this. There will be whale displays by Bayworld, latest whale research by NM University, beach walks, Hope Spot displays, photographic displays, whale art in progress and whale art on sale. Festival goers will then be ferried to a lookout point at the old fort which overlooks Cape Recife. There guides will point out the passing whales and impart all sorts of information about them and their migration. Raggy Charters whale watching boats will be out at sea to film the whales in order to show the footage back at the festival venue. This will be a forerunner and tester for the much anticipated Dolphin Carnival also organised by Raggy Charters to be held in 2019.

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