Day 32/100


This teenage humpback’s tail fin artistically etches itself against a foggy Atlantic morning off the coast of Cape Town.

Known to Happy Whale as HW-MN0800700.

 There have been two encounters with this whale off the South African coastline:

  1. 1)  12.12.2021 – Dassen Island by Monique and I
  2. 2)  15.01.2022 – Cape Point by Alex Vogel

The Cape Point encounter was within a Supergroup where Alex Vogel and team managed to photograph 135 different whales and assign 115 IDs. This is the highest number of whales photographed, and IDs assigned, within a single Supergroup on 1 day.

Day 33/100

Speckles in Splashes

Within an often crisscrossed landscape this mottled and speckled fluke slips congruently under it’s watery canopy of camouflage.

Happywhale number HW-MN0802651 -3 Encounters:

1)  08.12.2022 – Dassen Island by Monique and I

  1. 2)  14.12.2022 – Dassen Island (Dave de Beer)
  2. 3)  18.11.2023 – Dassen Island (Ash Appleby)

Day 36/100

A Families Fortunes

Across a barren plain, two family groups wander.

Each comprised of the strong and the frail; the experienced and the learning. Each member, a strand in a web of fortune whose strengths and weaknesses will dictate which family is first to water, and last to shade.

Yet, at the web’s centre, one thing is shared across all herds, and that is that the family is all. 

Day 35/100

Town Hall

Each day brings with it a new set of challenges. Where are the lions? Where is the best food? And, what route will we get us to the water before another herd?

Sometimes, for some it is simply a time to pause, whilst for others with young, the urge to keep moving to beat the midday heat is an important consideration.

Here a large herd of elephants pause in deliberation. What are the experienced herd members contemplating this time, I wonder?

Day 36/100

A Families Fortunes

Across a barren plain, two family groups wander.

Each comprised of the strong and the frail; the experienced and the learning. Each member, a strand in a web of fortune whose strengths and weaknesses will dictate which family is first to water, and last to shade.

Yet, at the web’s centre, one thing is shared across all herds, and that is that the family is all. 

Day 37/100

Of Noughts and Crosses

With an amazing fluke pattern resembling dozens of noughts or zeros, this great nomad prepares to dive on a journey that may see it crossing various oceans from the pole to the tropics, and back again.


3 Encounters:

  1. 1)  06.12.2022 (Ash Appleby)
  2. 2)  08.12.2022 (Chris and Monique)
  3. 3)  08.12.2023 ( Ash Appleby)

The third (and last) encounter was exactly 1 year after the previous sighting.

Day 38/100

It’s Snow Fluke

Like mountain peaks encrusted with a light dusting of snow, Notchfin’s fetching fluke slips into the freezing waters of the Benguela Current.

Happywhale ID HW-MN0800099 (Commonly known as ‘Notchfin’)

 8 Encounters

  1. 1)  01.10.2019 – Castle Rock (Alex Vogel)
  2. 2)  18.10.2019 – Smitswinkel Bay (Dave Hurwitz)
  3. 3)  17.12.2020 – Hout Bay (Dani Abras)
  4. 4)  12.12.2022 – Dassen (Ash Appleby)
  5. 5)  14.12.2022 – Dassen (Dave de Beer)
  6. 6)  14.12.2022 – Dassen (Chris and Monique)
  7. 7)  15.12.2022 – Dassen (Ash Appleby)
  8. 8)  19.11.2023 – Dassen (Mammal Research Institute Whale Unit)

One of the most famous South African Humpbacks in the catalogue! First seen in False Bay in the winter of 2019 when about a dozen young whales spent 5 months continuously feeding along the western shores of the bay, between Fish Hoek and Smitswinkel Bay.

Notchfin could be found daily anywhere between Glencairn and Smitswinkel. Although she was first officially recorded on 1. October, she had already been in the bay for about 3 months.

In that time Alex Vogel saw her get entangled in fishing line after passing close to shore at the Clan Stuart wreck. In addition, she is the first Humpback to be recorded on both sides of the Cape Peninsula after being sighted off Hout Bay in December 2020 while feeding in a supergroup.

She is a very special whale that is loved by many.

Day 39/100

(Fin)ger Print

There are many flukes that blend into obscurity, but with stripes, scrapes and squiggle,s this beautiful fluke stands out easily from it’s peers.

Happywhale ID HW-MN0801682 (Commonly known as ‘Big L’)

5 Encounters

1) 12.11.2022 – Sandy Bay (Maleen Hoekstra)
2) 20.11.2022 – Duiker Point (Alex Vogel with Captain Jacks)

3) 20.11.2022 – Vulcan Rock (Captain Jacks crew)

4) 21.11.2022 – Slangkop (Captain Jacks crew)
5) 14.12.2022 – Dassen (Chris and Monique)

Given the name “Big L” by Alex Vogel because of the distinctive “L” shaped scar on the right fluke, and because it sounds like “Big AL(ex)” ;).

Alex, who administers the South African side of Happywhale doesn’t often give whales names, but broke that rule for the first time with this whale, and why not! We have names after all, and being sentient creatures with unique personalities, why shouldn’t they …

Day 40/100

Tall in stature, small in tusk

A line of Elephants in Namibia’s Etosha National Park amble serenely towards a waterhole.

These elephants are amongst the tallest in Africa, but have very small tusks.

The reason for the small tusks is a lack of phosphor in their diet, which results in tusks that are brittle and slow growing.

The flip side being that these stunted and jagged tusks are less likely to be the target of ivory poachers.

Day 41/100

Of Dust and Deluge

Moody cumulous clouds hang so low that they appear to kiss the barren horizon that sandwiches the souls between.

Below the sky and upon the soil, so the herd moves, reliant on one for pasture and the other for thirst.

It is a life that’s lived sandwiched between.

Day 42/100

On the Move

Crossed swords held high, stones kicked loose, a mother strides forth upon the cracked earth. Throughout her life she does not complain, because tomorrow she knows she must do it again.

Day 43/100

A Whales Tale

Extolling of a life of trial and tribulation, this whale’s storied fluke tells of battles with killers, and great journeys to where only certain species of barnacle can survive.

Each scrape, each scratch, each punctuated point, a mark of passage upon this nomad’s passport of life.  

Day 44/100

And I guess that’s why they call it the Blues

A soul adrift on a sea of blues, above and below, a moment of calm upon which to reflect.

Day 45/100

The Tail of the Terpsichorean

Upon a cerulean stage the humpback performs, tail aloft for all to see. Glittering waters filled with shimmering tales, a world of wonders upon which to dance.

Day 46/100

March of the Matriarch

Leading her herd this mighty matriarch marches, a lean towards my camera, an exhalation of dust.

Behind her, a tiny calf shelters within the families embrace, and astern of this care, the rest of the clan loyally keep pace.

March of the Matriarch – Limited Edition Print

Day 47/100


With crossed swords I walk upon an encrusted earth, devoid of food and absent of water. In my path a predator will wait, perhaps of claw, perhaps of gun, perhaps of snare. I carry on and walk, and walk, I will for the only other option is to succumb. 

Defiance – Limited Edition Print

Day 48/100

Air ~ lephant

Have you ever closed your eyes and listened to an elephant walk?

Such a huge being with such great bulk, yet silenced is their footfall.

Could it be that if you didn’t have the privilege of sight, you could be forgiven for thinking they floated on air?

Day 49/100

Servant to Sequin

No matter the mood, from tempest to calm, the whale is subservient and pliant to its aqueous embalm.

Day 50/100


Why I don’t know, but I find myself transfixed by this image.

Is it perhaps how the water seems alive and fighting its release from the whale’s great fluke?

Is it the tails conflict in motion against the run of the sea? 

I have no answer and cannot explain but will have another look just the same.

Day 51/1000

Crypto Current Sea 

Blocked by a chain of natural events, first the mystical wash of the sea and then the softness of sky, a great whale breaks the tether of each, and slips into the cold wallet’s embrace.

Exchanging tokens of clouds for yields from the sea, it vanishes below, bearing deep to mine the riches beneath. 

Day 52/100

Penny for your thoughts

What is on your mind great elephant?

You stop, you look, and you question some more …

Is it me, a memory of what my kind have done to you before? Or do you stop to show me what tolerance resembles?

Carry on my friend, walk not in fear, for today is a day when it was good to be near.

Day 53/100

Going Somewhere

Such scenes are so rare, but when you glimpse upon them, you feel their pull. Not in just in sight, but also in soul.

As a fine art photographer, one dreams of such moments whereupon a barren plain, a huge herd of elephants’ stride across it under a painted sky.

It is for these moments I live, and to preserve these moments I and others if necessary, will die for.

Day 54/100

The Wise Fig

Bend a little closer fig, lean some more, for we feed gently below you, caring and kind.

I bend to be amongst you, my limbs laden with fruit, but I care not to listen but rather to feed, for from my yield and your transport, new generations will seed. 

Day 55/100

Night Shift

I’ve never photographed underwater within a super group of humpbacks at night, but the thought of doing so is quite intimidating.

Can you imagine what it must be like, completely dark down there in the open ocean, and all you hear is their eerie contact calls, but have no idea of where they are.

Then suddenly you feel the rush of water as they pass you by, and once again all is dark.

But their after dark world is not like ours, they feel with sonar and listen with direction, finding their ears, each one knows exactly where the other one is.

What remarkable creatures that swop darkness for light, and any shades in between without any trade off.

I bet by night they are just as aware of me as they are in the day, and I would probably have little to fear knowing that they have no interest to harm.

Day 56/100

Chasing the orange

They never miss a chance for a sunrise nor a sunset, what a wonderful way to live.

Whales, like elephants, spend most of their lives looking for food and this quest takes them from pole to tropics, and back again.

It must be tiring and testing, but can you imagine the oranges, crimsons and pinks that they see in between?

Day 57/100

Salute to the Sun

With arched back and flexed foil, these perpetual yoga practitioners stretch themselves before yet another deep dive.

Goodbye to the sun, hello darkness old friend. To get to see you both, our great bodies must bend. 

Day 58/100

Of Bough and Brother

Over the years I have made a point of seeking out scenes like this, where a great tree gives shade to a great soul.

I find these scenes not only artistically beautiful, but also so incredibly peaceful.

It is as if time stands still for both limb of foliage and flesh.

Day 59/100

A Trunk amongst trees

Standing silently swaying, the breeze through my limbs and my mind at ease, symbolic of a place of harmony where trunk and limb are words used interchangeably between flesh and foliage, as one depends upon the other.

Day 60/100

At the Footfall of Giants

Striding out they walk, dust and cracked crust under fragmented skies, the canvas of life in which, on which, and out of which they survive.

Copyrighted by Chris Fallows @2020