We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“The best choice for whale watching”
Review of Ocean Blue

Ocean Blue
Ranked #4 of 20 Tours in Plettenberg Bay
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
San Diego, California
Level 5 Contributor
50 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“The best choice for whale watching”
Reviewed October 2, 2011

I have done whale watching all around the world and Ocean Blue is one of the best companies I've ever dealt with. They're so good, I chose to go with them a second time. The boats are comfortable and provide great vantage points for photography. Naturalists really know and care about the animals. Everyone was warm and welcoming. Most importantly, they were excellent around the animals, giving us great views without bothering the whales. On top of this there were lovely touches like free coffee and water. I highly recommend Ocean Blue!

Visited September 2011
Helpful?
Thank dolphoto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

105 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    59
    25
    7
    6
    8
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Worcester, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“So many whales we did not know where to look.”
Reviewed September 12, 2010

Having viewed whales in both Alaska and in Canada we saw this as the best opportunity to see Southern Right whales in South Africa, and we were not disappointed. The first four whales that we sighted we were unable to get close too as they all had calves and the skipper moved away immediately, it was pleasing to see the environmental guidelines so strictly adhered to. As we moved along the coast however we finally arrived just off Keurboomstrand and were amazed at the number of whales that we did see and the proximity to the boat to which they came to of their own accord. At one stage we had whales mating to the right of us, following the boat from behind and even one rubbing itself on the underneath of the boat!
All we can say is what a fantastic experience provided by knowledgeable and very friendly staff – Thank you!

Helpful?
Thank EvsandDut
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
colorado
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Ocean Blue Plett Bay, South Africa”
Reviewed November 16, 2009

My husband and I were staying at Pezula Resort outside of Knysna. I contacted them in advance to arrange for a private whale watching tour for my husband and I. I wanted it to be a special experience since my husband has never been whale watching and we were back in his homeland country of South Africa for a few weeks. Pezula booked what sounded like a great day of whale watching in Plettenberg Bay. This was not going to be an inexpensive adventure. Our contact at Pezula had booked the entire boat which seats 16 for the 2 of us. The employees of Ocean Blue had a difficult time launching the boat because it was just the 2 of us. After 40 minutes of fooling around on the beach, they were able to get the boat in the water. We drove over the the seal colony and then drove straight out to sea for about 2 miles. We saw nothing and drove back in 2 miles. We then went over to Robberg Peninsula to look for whales and we zig zagged back and forth in this area for a good 30 minutes and then we headed back into the bay. Our guide was less than knowledgeable about whale migration routes as well as the types of birds in the bay. It was a huge expensive disappointment. Avoid Ocean Blue at all costs. I would add photos, but we didn't see anything...

Helpful?
2 Thank coloradomd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wolverhampton
Level 5 Contributor
61 reviews
36 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“Whales - and really close!”
Reviewed September 14, 2009

I went on this trip in 2006 and ended up with some very good video - I am a professional but they didn't know that and I was using a cheap camera. After the Surf Launch we headed towards Robben Island and came across a whale who came towards us and stopped at about 50 feet. As we moved past him he gave an almighty splash with his tail and set off in the same direction as our boat and slightly ahead. This gave me some good action stuff for a very short sequence before we broke away - the boats are not allowed to approach close to the whales or to chase.

We went farther out on the lookout for a Humpback which had been reported earlier. No luck, so we turned back to the eastern side of the bay. Another boat was drifting along half a mile offshore and obviously had whales close by. We stopped at some distance and soon this small group of whales came towards us - probably 6 or so. Effectively we were in the 'pound seats' and just stayed where we were. One whale came straight towards us before sliding off and passing close alongside - maybe 10 feet away. He turned and came back for another look and this time I was hanging over the bow as he came right at me. This time he passed just below me. Just a wee bit frightening! As we looked around there were whales all around but not as close. Next day we went to Enrico's and stood on the cliff top for maybe an hour watching and filming a mother and her baby just outside the surf. They were soon joined by the dolphin gang who seemed intrigued by the sight of the whale feeding the calf. This is quite an active scene as the mother has to roll onto her back and this allows her two fins to break the surface as she tries to stay in position. After a minute or so she has to turn over to breathe. The calf was quite clearly visible and we were also treated to a surfing display by the dolphin gang. All this from the public car park on the low clifftop. We are back in Plett in a month's time so I will update this review.

Helpful?
1 Thank WolverhamptonVideo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Eindhoven
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Whale Safari in Plettenberg Bay: bitter disappointment!”
Reviewed August 17, 2009

With a group of 21 Dutch tourists we made a tour through South Africa with Thompsons Holidays from 24 July till 9 August 2009. We had a great holiday! What a wonderful country. Everywhere we came we received a warm welcome and got a very good impression of South Africa but………..
On Sunday 2 August 2009 our Thompsons guide booked a whale watching trip, on our request, with Ocean Blue Adventures in Plettenberg Bay: the “Two Hour Close Encounter Tour” for 650 Rands p.p. Our expectations were high and became even higher when the manager of Ocean Blue Adventures told us that we would sail “some 20” minutes later, because the trip before us was staying out at sea a bit longer. There were “two whales circling the boat”. It sounded very reassuring to us: this company obviously gives value for your money!
Well, after coffee (good service!), a rather lengthy explanation about proceedings, a walk to the beach and an unnecessary last chance for a visit to the toilet we finally sailed.
Although we realize that nobody can guarantee whale sightings, our group (16 of the 21) was really very disappointed after the trip. I never came across a worse ‘product’ and a more impolite treatment of tourists.

There are three main reasons:

• ‘Two Hour Close Encounter Tour’? We didn’t spend two hours at sea. Digital photos tell you exactly when they were taken. Two photos, one taken at the beginning and one when we returned, indicate that we spent about one hour and 40 minutes at sea. We also didn’t have any ‘close’ encounters. The only whales we encountered were farther away from the ship than the 50 metres that are promised in the ads (see http://www.oceanadventures.co.za/) . There were two (or three) whales swimming in the distance. If there were good reasons to stay at a distance, Ocean Blue should have mentioned this before departure!
• After the first (and only) sighting of two (or three?) whales the skipper and the ‘whale guide’ tried to spot more whales for some time (wish I’d brought a stopwatch, but it didn’t take too long) and then decided to head full speed for an island with a group of seals. When the guide asked the people on board if we were doing OK, I answered him that I wasn’t, because I hadn’t paid 650 Rands to see seals! Why not look for more whales? He said that in the remaining time they would surely try and find more whales. After a, in my view, too long stay with the seals, we sailed on and a short time was spent looking for whales. Then we hurried back to the beach. (“We apologize, but this is the end of the tour”)
In all, the skipper and guide didn’t spend enough time trying to spot whales. Maybe they knew that their efforts would be useless and tried to compensate with the seals? My wife and I went whale watching in Norway and Canada and not only did we get to see more whales there, but in both countries we spent the entire trip searching. This boat didn’t spend enough time doing so. Digital photos aren’t much of a help here because, for obvious reasons, we didn’t take too many.
For 650 Rands I don’t expect them to find whales, but I expect them to try and find them for the entire duration of the trip. Should this fail, no problem. Wildlife can’t be ‘organised’. Showing seals instead is no compensation. On the contrary, it gave us the feeling of “Well, they’ve at least seen something”. This disappointment cost us 1300 Rands. That’s a lot of money. Does Ocean Blue realize that there were families of four adults in our group? For them it was even more!
• The skipper’s conduct was at times very unfriendly, if not rude. When the whales had been spotted and people took too much time to make room on the side of the boat for others to watch, she was right to react, but by saying “Come on people, this ain’t brain surgery” she really offended a lot of ‘guests’. Back on land she reacted very aggressively towards me and some people in our group when we were lodging our complaints with the manager. It was obvious that there was to be no discussion about the quality of her work. Very unprofessional! Later, when our Thompsons guide tried to talk to her on our behalf, he experienced exactly the same. Besides, it became clear that she thought our Dutch group had been ‘misbehaving’ on board.
‘Misbehaving’? I really didn’t understand.
- Was it the two young boys the skipper told to stand still because they were trampling their feet on top of her cabin? She invited people up there herself! By the way, they were NOT in our group.
- Was it the gentleman that stood up while at full speed? He paid a total of 2600 Rands for himself, his wife and two sons to be told off like a naughty boy at school! And yes, he was in our group. (We made sure he had detention that same evening ………..)
- Was it maybe the other ‘unfortunate’ gentleman (NOT in our group) who got up while ‘landing’ on the beach? I think he was from an Arabic speaking country and maybe his understanding of English was insufficient to fully understand the skipper.

The skipper obviously had no understanding of tourism, nor feeling for it. When we complained and indicated that we were not satisfied, she should have remained friendly. Even in a situation (which was clearly NOT the case here) where people are ‘splitting straws’, being far too critical.

When back on the beach, I asked the Ocean Blue guide “where all the other whales were” he tried to explain and advised me to go to the manager with my complaint. He said that sometimes a refund is considered.
The manager should have reacted more professionally when we approached him with our complaints after the trip. A listening ear for us or a cooling down of the skipper when she became rude would have been the least. A (partial) refund would have been a realistic opportunity, because the ‘product’ was bad. He, as the general manager, should have chosen for it. Instead he did nothing.

I can assure you that our holidays in South Africa were great in spite of what you just read, but if you ever consider doing a whale safari in Plettenberg Bay I strongly advise NOT to do so with Ocean Blue Adventures.


Karel Vervest
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
e-mail: k.vervest@chello.nl

Helpful?
11 Thank CharlesEindhoven
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Ocean Blue also viewed

Plettenberg Bay, Western Cape
Plettenberg Bay, Western Cape
 
Plettenberg Bay, Western Cape
Plettenberg Bay, Western Cape
 

Been to Ocean Blue? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing