“Amazing tour, and spotting! Our ecologist + guide was so informative and interesting. We wish we could do it again!” – Kola Family
“Great, well managed tour. Very impressive viewing.” – Mirabino
“It was cool! Thank you for all the information :)” – Sammy
Treated to a beautiful day on the water, we departed Kleinbaai Harbour on the back of a very successful trip the previous day. After a slow start in The Shallows our guides spotted a lone humpback dolphin in the surf zone. The animal stayed with us for a few photographs before we headed over to visit the Shark Cage Diving boat, Slashfin. Not two minutes after leaving the dolphin behind, an adult African penguin was sighted off the starboard side and put on a short swimming display for our guests on board.
Upon our arrival to the cage site, chasing bait lines in front of some very excited cage divers, were a couple of feisty Bronze Whaler Sharks (also known as Copper Sharks). We did not stop for long at the cage site as not to interfere with their operation, however we were in a great position for some incredible views of the sharks.
As we made our way past Dyer Island into deeper water to complete the Marine Big 5, our whale spotter, Kira, guided us towards some whale spouts in the distance. Passing many seals loafing around in the water, we were greeted a few fleeting sights of a very shy Bryde’s Whale. Nevertheless, Kira then found us another Bryde’s Whalle which hung around the boat a little bit longer and we were able to get some amazing glimpses of the 40-ton animal, completing the Marine Big 5 for a second consecutive day!
After completing our Marine Big 5 safari, spirits on board were high, however, the day would only get better. While on route to Geyser Rock to visit our seal stronghold of around 60,000 individuals, our skipper, Francois, suddenly stopped, and cruising past Dream Catcher was a Mola Mola (also known as a Sun Fish). Mola Mola, the largest bony fish in the world, are generally seen when warmer water moves through the Dyer Island system feeding on jellyfish. A fantastic spectacle for everyone on the vessel.
Yet the surprises did not end there. Before reaching the island, once more we were detoured, this time towards a floating piece of debris spotted by our guides. As we travelled closer it became clear it was a dead whale, a Southern Wright Whale calf. Most of the carcass was missing, all that remained was a fraction of the torso, it’s flippers and head. A sad sight, however it was not to dampen spirits, as there were large, definitive shark bites on the whale indicating that there are indeed Great White Sharks in the area, although have been not seen at the Cage Diving Vessel since Tuesday afternoon.
After detouring twice, we eventually arrived at the Island, and pulled into the world famous, Shark Alley, where we were met by the playful Cape Fur Seal colony. Some of these playful young fellows decided to play with our YSI reader before finally allowing us to pull it back on board. During this time of year on the rock, there are thousands of tiny black seal pups, unfortunately the sad reality is that only around 50% of them will survive to see their first birthday.
When the smell of the seals became too much, we decided to head back to the harbour. Just outside the Alley we were treated again by a raft of 5 adult African Penguins to finish off an immense day at sea. Overall, today was an unbelievable day at sea, again completing the Marine Big 5 checklist and much more!
Written by William Gilmore – International Marine Volunteer
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