“Awesome. A dream come true. Well organised and very friendly crew.” – Christine
Today we left Kleinbaai harbour in almost perfect conditions as we set out on our sea safari aboard Dream Catcher, in search once more of the Marine Big 5. As we cruised through The Shallows searching for the elusive Humpback Dolphins, we were amazed by the thousands of Cape Cormorants hugging the coast line. The Dyer Island system is home to around 100,000 of these birds and 60% of the overall population in South Africa. Plenty of Gull species and Swift Terns were also seen among the Cormorants.
Unfortunately, we did not come across any of our dolphin species (Common, Humpback and Bottlenose) in the shallows. We continued on and headed on past the island to rendezvous with our research boat Lawazi (meaning knowledge in the Xhosa language) that was in the area chumming for Great White Sharks. We stopped at the site for a few minutes but moved on after not being able to catch any glimpse of the sharks.
We headed out into deeper water beyond Dyer Island in search of the shy Bryde’s Whales. Bryde’s Whales get their name from Johan Bryde, a Norwegian consul to South Africa that introduced and established the first modern whaling stations in the country. Within a few minutes our whale spotter, Kira, had spotted whale spouts in the distance. Unlike the previous day, this whale decided to show off for us. The whale stayed very close to boat offering some fantastic photo opportunities for everyone on board.
After taking in all we could of the whale, our skipper directed us back towards Dyer Island and Geyser rock to see our seal colony and hopefully catch a sight of our endangered African Penguins. We were treated on the way as we came across two Cape Gannets floating just off the starboard side. Geyser Rock seemed slightly empty of adults today, however the seal pups and remaining adults, both in and out of the water were still great to see on such a sunny day.
Pulling up close to the Island, the Cape Cormorants dominated our views, nevertheless a few penguins were spotted amongst all the commotion. The Cage Diving vessel Slashfin, had returned to a new dive site next to the Island as the research boat Lawzi was successful in bringing in a white shark, we decided to head over and try sight the animal. Upon arrival, we were greeted by more massive flocks of cormorants and other sea birds. Once at Slashfin a bronze whaler was sighted, however before it moved on, everyone on board had seen the shark.
Today was a beautiful, calm day on the water, unfortunately there were no dolphins today but 4 of the Marine Big 5 is a fantastic day nonetheless.
Written by William Gilmore – International Marine Volunteer
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