A very cloudy and misty day at sea today but it did not stop us from getting some amazing sightings of our local wildlife. We did not have to wait long for our first member of the marine big 5, we spotted a cape fur seal munching on an octopus just in front of Franskraal beach. Our bay is littered with rocks and crevasse amongst the dense kelp forests which is plays home to many crustaceans and molluscs including octopus. Many seals do occasionally forage in the kelp, though many travel to offshore feeding grounds in search of fish. We soon moved on after the seal had finished his meal and had to wait a little while longer before our next Big 5 sighting. As we headed out into deeper waters in search of whale spouts, we came across many beautiful pelagic birds including Corey’s and Sooty Shearwaters, White-Chinned Petrels, and the graceful Cape Gannets. It took us a while but our eagle-eyed spotter Kira, soon found us the elusive Bryde’s Whale. Unlike Southern Right Whales and Humpback Whales that migrate away from our shores in the summer, the Bryde’s remain on our coast hunting large schools of small fish. Also, these whales are negatively buoyant and don’t linger at the surface like other species, this can make them very hard to watch. This whale was indeed hard to watch, but the experience crew and skipper positioned the boat right next to behemoth as it surfaced offering some amazing views to everyone on board.
We then continued our marine adventure back to our Island system where we had a quick stop at our ever-playful seal colony and then moved round shark alley towards Dyer Island. We spotted quite a few penguins today which is very unusual but very lucky. These birds have dwindled to the brink of extinction when we took away their homes, ate their eggs and starved them of fish bringing a once booming population down to 2000 animals. However, not all hope is lost as DICT and APSS have been working tirelessly to issue new homes to the birds and also to rescue and rehabilitate sick and injured birds. Our last sighting was the predator that makes our area famous; the great white shark. This shark took us all by surprise as we were busy watching a short-tailed stingray at the shark vessel. This 4-meter animal came out of nowhere and tried to take the bait. The bait handler was too quick which gave us a great view of those legendary jaws. This wrapped up a excellent trip filled with great sightings.
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