For the most part, the clients on our boat are typically mammals of the human variety but occasionally, we’re very lucky to have some feathered friends hitch a ride with us. These fish eating friends typically only join us for the first part of our journey, as most have a one way ticket to the very exclusive Dyer Island.
Today was one of those days as we were incredibly fortunate to have the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary crew on board with us, with 8 endangered African Penguins who were ready to be released back onto their guano covered home.
We set out from the harbour bright and early and hugged the coast all the way along to our sister company’s beautiful boat, Slashfin. Here we paused for a bit in anticipation to see one of the most feared creatures in the world – a shark. It is very normal for us to have to do some waiting before our fishy friends make an appearance, so we stuck around until luck struck and we got to see quite a large Bronze Whaler. An animal of many different names, these requiems are most commonly known as a Copper Shark although the name Cocktail shark is occasionally also thrown into the mix.
Once we’d seen this beauties dorsal, we made our way along the reefs on towards the island, where we made the most important stop of the day. Xolani quickly organised the forces and just like clockwork, 8 African Penguins were given a second chance at life in the wild. Heart-warming and humorous, the sight of 8 of these clumsy little birds toppling into the water is definitely a sight to make you smile. After watching as they made their way closer to Dyer Island, we made our move towards Geyser Rock, spotting some Giant Petrels on the way. we had both varieties about today, with the Northern and Southern Giant Petrels taking advantage of a bird carcass floating just outside of Shark Alley. Once we’d spent some time watching this oceanic vultures go about their business, our Cape Fur Seal colony was the next port of call.
60 000 of these little wonders greeted us on arrival into Shark Alley, with many of the seals enjoying the cool waters of the Atlantic and having a blast showing off for the boat by propelling themselves out the water like furry torpedos.
Following our time here, we set out into the open ocean in the hopes of spotting some more wildlife. Around this time, the wind picked up a little earlier than what was predicted so we had an adventurous ride out finding hundreds of Terns and at least 10 Artic Skuas. The scientific name for these hunters is Stercorarius parasiticus. Parasiticus means “parasitic” in latin, referring to the pesky feeding tactic of these birds in which they harass others until their victims regurgitate their last meal in an attempt to get these bullies of their backs. These birds are migratory, so we only really get to see them at this time of year and with their mischievous ways, they certainly make for a fascinating sight. Once we’d had our fair share of sea and surf, we made our way back to the harbour, with us all getting off the boat a little drenched but also incredibly happy.
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