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“Conservation = exploitation” 1 of 5 stars
Review of Dyer Island Cruises

Dyer Island Cruises
5 Geelbek Street, Gansbaai, South Africa
+27(0)28 384 0406
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Ranked #5 of 19 Activities in Gansbaai
Type: Boat Tours, Adventure
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Owner description: "Discover & Protect"Dyer Island Cruises is a world-recognized 5-star boat based whale watching company operating in Kleinbaai, WC, South Africa. Our exclusive tours of a maximum 24 passengers offers everyone the same experience of personalized service, exceptional views, and only the best.Our team of guides/skippers/marine biologists is unique to whale watching in South Africa. Our vessel, Whale Whisperer, is custom built for boat based whale watching and superior in safety and comfort. We pride ourselves in our passion for conservation as well as customer service. And we also live by our boat's motto: "Life - an adventure to be lived, not a problem to be solved!"
Isle of Man, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
121 reviews 121 reviews
17 attraction reviews
Reviews in 37 cities Reviews in 37 cities
92 helpful votes 92 helpful votes
“Conservation = exploitation”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2013

We visited SA in September and our hotel booked us a whale watching tour. We had no idea that Gansbaai the starting point of our tour was the shark cage centre of SA and were horrified to see so many people making money out of treating sharks like circus animals.
We were taken straight to the shark cage divers and what we saw was awful. Sharks encouraged to leap at the cages as the crew threw dried blood etc in to the water. This stresses the sharks and exhausts them and whilst they are entertaining adrenalin seekers, they become injured with bloody noses, become hungry as they are not eating and become stressed, and also learning that it is OK to attack boats!! I had a hissy fit with the captain as there is also evidence that sharks can leap in to boats by accident. we were on a small inflatable and the shark was sooooo close. After this terrible experience we did see some whales which was wonderful but the whole experience was spoilt by seeing real exploitation of stunning sharks in action for profit. We have had email conversations with Dyer about this and we will never agree as long as sharks continue to be treated as circus animals or puppets. We also went on another whale watching trip with Southern Right Charters whose ethics we were happier with. If you are a real conservationist this trip is not for you. Gansbaai is a dreadful place if you are an animal lover.

Visited September 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DyerIslandCruises, Guest Relations Manager at Dyer Island Cruises, responded to this review, January 15, 2013
Thank you for your comments, I am so sorry to read that you were disappointed with one aspect of the trip. Its important that readers understand we are a whale and eco-trip company, not a shark cage diving company, so I am glad to read that the main part of your trip (the whales) was superb. Gansbaai, South Africa is the internationally recognized hotspot for white shark cage diving and we stop by those vessels on our way to the whales to give our clients added value for money (sharks, whales, seals, dolphins, and penguins... all in one trip!). I can assure you our 11.5m two story semi-rigid inflatable was not going to be (and never has been) attacked by any shark and the sharks do not learn it is OK to attack boats, otherwise we'd have to have one incredible indemnity form!! I do encourage you to read some of the valuable research on white sharks coming from this area via the Dyer Island Conservation Trust, of which we are a main contributor. You will find that many of the conclusions you have written here are not supported by research. Thank you for your comments. Cheers, Michelle - DIC.
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Collioure66190
Top Contributor
67 reviews 67 reviews
21 attraction reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
73 helpful votes 73 helpful votes
“Close encounters with marine species”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 8, 2012

It was a rotten day, weather-wise. Our tour to see the whales was cancelled and our BnB put us on another trip which was billed to take us hunting whales, see penguins, seals and sharks. Okay we thought. The swell was a bit high but we made it through the harbour and out into the open sea. And everything looked up! We saw whales. How many? Probably some 30 during the morning trip, some close, some far, some with young, many old and barnacled. They didn't breach - more was the pity - but we'd seen them doing that from our BnB the previous evening. Then we moved on to see the shark diving boat and the sharks coming in at great speed to the snorkellers encaged for the experience. The sharks were disappointingly smallish, 2-3 metres or so, but we were told they could sometimes be bigger. Then off again to Dyer island where the stench of seals filled our nostrils! Heavy breathing through the mouth. But what a delight the frolicking seals were. Our guides gave us useful info and answered questions happily and soon we found ourselves on the way back to Gansbaai. The sea was rocking around the boat a bit but the captain waited for the right moment to more or less surf into the harbour on the crest of a wave. Brilliant! It was a bit of a costly trip but certainly worth it.

Visited November 2012
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DyerIslandCruises, Guest Relations Manager at Dyer Island Cruises, responded to this review, December 17, 2012
Thank you so much for your great review - yes we do much more than just whale watching! Seals, sharks, penguins and much more - rocking your boat in more ways than one! :) Hope to see you again next season, Michelle - DIC.
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Cheltenham, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
9 attraction reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“Whale soup!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 7, 2012

A tremendous trip! We saw at least 30 whales, many of them with calves, one of which was an albino. We got up close and personal on this small boat - they were right beside it and we could have touched them. The boat crew was friendly, professional and approachable. One of the highlights was seeing great white sharks from a safe vantage point! We'd certainly go with them again.

Visited November 2012
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DyerIslandCruises, Guest Relations Manager at Dyer Island Cruises, responded to this review, December 17, 2012
Thank you very much for your review, especially from such a top contributor! Seeing the albino ('brindled' is the term in whale-language) calves are just incredible - true Moby Dick's of the sea! See you next season, Michelle - DIC.
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5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“The most incredible experience!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 7, 2012 via mobile

I had no idea where to go to watch whales but Ilios tours arranged the trip for me including transfers from Cape Town. It was so incredible - seeing about 40 whales, mothers and calves coming close to the boat (Dyer are v responsible, keep the allowed distance, but the whales came right up). Saw sharks up close, penguins and seals everywhere. Incredible place and an experience I'll remember for a lifetime. They feed you too - soup and sandwiches and coffee - and are so friendly. Most importantly they are a highly respected conservation organisation doing important research and practical work for wildlife.

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DyerIslandCruises, Guest Relations Manager at Dyer Island Cruises, responded to this review, December 17, 2012
Thank you for your awesome comments! There's no point in being a wildlife operator if you don't do anything to protect that wildlife, and it is something we are very passionate about. See you next season, Michelle - DIC.
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Wales, UK
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
10 attraction reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
“Excellent whale, seal and shark sightings”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 24, 2012

A very well organised boat trip around Dyer Island and Geyser Rock. After the safety briefing and quite a long introductory talk on the endangered African Penguins (for which they are fund-raising), we were kitted out with good, warm waterproofs and lifejackets then we went aboard and out to sea. The boat is small which means you are really close to the whales if they come up near the boat - one calf went right under the boat!
Then we stopped near their Shark Diving Boat and watched the people in the diving cage being circled by two huge great white sharks!
After that we went through a rough patch of water with big waves, it was a bit like a fairground ride going out to see the seals and cormorants on Geyser Rock. (If you're prone to seasickness, this bit only lasts a short while but you might want to take seasick tablets, or remember to look at the horizon.)
It did seem very expensive, but we were on a once-in-a-lifetime visit to South Africa and seeing the whales so close-up was a great privilege...
Extra nice touches: Coffee before the trip, and a light lunch of hot soup, bread-and-butter provided on our return, all included in the price. And for an extra 100 Rand, an excellent, professional-quality video of the trip, including the best whale sightings and glimpses of all of us watching them, made available online for download a few days later. This more than made up for my own wobbly amateur video, I was never aimed at the right place when the whale appeared!

Visited October 2012
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DyerIslandCruises, Guest Relations Manager at Dyer Island Cruises, responded to this review, December 17, 2012
Thank you very much for your great review! Being that close to whales is simply magical, and I am glad you enjoyed your video too! See you next season, Michelle - DIC.
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