Our first sighting came rather quickly today, just as we approached The Shallows, our spotter found us two Indian Ocean Humpback Dolphins. These two individuals loved the boat and came very close to us allowing for fantastic photo opportunities. This species of dolphin is South Africa’s rarest coastal cetacean with around only 500 individuals remaining along the coastline. Out of this 500 we have only identified around 30 dolphins in our bay. As we moved on towards the island, our next sighting was the smallest member of the Marine Big 5, the endangered African Penguin. We found three of them just in front of their home on Dyer Island. These birds now just number around 2000 with around 900 breeding pairs left on the Island and have declined around 90% in the last 20 years. Usually quite skittish around our vessel, these birds were very relaxed and allowed us to get nice a close without disturbing them. On our way behind the Island we stopped at Geyser Rock to check our boisterous seal colony. The island was slightly empty today but the remaining adults, juveniles and pups gave us an amazing show once more.
The waters behind the Island turned into a birding paradise, we managed to spot five amazing Cape Gannets including some juvenile birds, many Giant Petrels, and even a smaller White-Chinned Petrel. These was a lot of bird activity behind the island, however unfortunately we were unable to find any of or larger cetacean species. We then moved for a second look at our cage diving vessel for another chance at spotting a shark. As we arrived at the cage diving vessel, a large great white was quickly spotted surfacing and even taking the bait line. These creatures are very elusive around the cage diving vessels and the presence of our boat can interfere with their operation so we soon moved on. This completed a great day at sea including 4 out the Marine Big 5.
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