Once more on board our trusty whale watching vessel, Dream Catcher, we headed out in search of the Marine Big 5 in the Dyer Island system. Our first sighting of the day came in the form of thousands of Cape Cormorants flying out towards the island. The cape cormorant is considered an endangered species in South Africa and over 60% of the population resides in the area. It is always a treat seeing such huge flocks of these gorgeous birds. Our next animal was none other than the ‘jawsome’ Great White Shark. It is amazing to see the sharks back in the area again after going many weeks with no white sharks at all. We had a very large animal of around 4 meters pass the cage before launching itself at bait.
We left the shark cage company behind as we left for deeper waters in search our most elusive member of the marine big 5, the Bryde’s Whale. On our way, we spotted to smallest member of the marine big 5, the little African Penguin. This tiny bird was incredibly cooperative and got very close to the boat, providing us with excellent views when they are normally quite skittish around large vessels.
The whale certainly proved elusive today, with a single whale sighted by the guides and guests on board, but unfortunately it proved too difficult to catch up with and was not seen again. The Bryde’s Whale, pronounced “broo-dess”, is often confused with the larger Sei Whale, however they can be distinguished by the three distinctive ridges that run from the tip of the rostrum to the back of the head. The jaws are lined with between 250 and 365 plates of baleen used for trapping food. We then made a quick stop at our stinky seal friends and managed to grab some amazing views before we moved
Fortunately, we were treated to an awesome birding spectacle on our way to Danger Point. We encountered many giant petrels, tern species and the beautiful Cape Gannets. We were most fascinated by the gannets, these birds can fly to heights of 30 meters plus and dive at speeds of up to 100km per hour into the water to catch fish. Their physiology is designed perfectly for this as they have reinforced skulls, no external nostrils, air sacs in the face and cheeks to cushion the bird on impact, as well as having binocular vision to accurately pinpoint fish in the water. These birds are amazing to watch, gracefully patrolling the seas before darting into the ocean for food. The birds were an excellent conclusion to the trip, ending a successful day on the water with 4 out of the Marine Big 5.
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