“It was amazing! really hope to do it again!!!” – Anja
“Exciting trip. liked it a lot, thank you all, interesting too! Super!” – Nick
“Awesome day at sea!! Wet and wild!! Thanks!!” – Charity
We left the Kleinbaai harbour today in clear blue skies, almost perfect conditions to go in search of the Marine Big 5. At first it was a bit of a bumpy, but exciting ride out of the harbour. This was quickly forgotten when we passed a pair of African Penguins. Usually quite skittish around boats, they astoundingly swam very close to us giving everyone on board a rare sighting of these birds in their natural environment. Not long after leaving the birds behind, our whale spotter, Kira found us six stunning humpback dolphins that were fishing just outside in the surf zone of The Shallows. They sure did put on a show for us, displaying their flukes above the surface and then smacking them on the water repeatedly. One of the greatest sightings of these animals I have ever seen! Indian Ocean Humpback Dolphins are the rarest cetacean along the Africa coastline, with an estimated 500 individuals remaining. They can reach a length of about 2.8 meters and found in water less than around 20m, unfortunately bringing them into frequent contact with human activities.
Again, we headed over towards our sister company, Marine Dynamics, to see if they had a shark to show us. Fortunately for us, as we arrived as two Bronze Whaler Sharks appeared to be very interested in the bait and provided us with some spectacular photograph opportunities. We soon moved on to Geyser Rock for a look at our massive Cape Fur Seal Colony. For the second time in two days, we were on board Whale Whisperer and were able to get very close to the rock for some excellent views of the colony and the many thousands of new born pups. Many of the younger seals were playing and porpoising by the boat, which we all thoroughly enjoyed.
We then made our way towards Danger Point in search whales. We didn’t see any whales unfortunately, but we did stumble across a bird watcher’s paradise. We had spotted a vast flock of cape cormorants, numbering in the thousands. Amongst the flock was an Artic Skua in pursuit of Swift Tern chasing it to steal it’s freshly caught meal. The Arctic Skua, also known as a Parasitic Jaeger (Jaeger meaning “hunter” in German), is a talented flier, able to manoeuvre with speed and agility in chase of bird with a freshly caught snack. The Skuas pursue their target until it becomes so distressed that it then drops it’s catch which the Skua can then eat. The last bird we were able to see amongst the commotion was a Giant Petrel, we often see these birds floating at the surface, so to see one gliding around was a special treat. Giant Petrels can have a wing span of around 2 meters in length and weight up to 5kgs.
Written by William Gilmore
Today’s bird list:
(including those found at the Great White House)
- Cape Sugarbird
- Malachite Sunbird
- Cape Cormorant
- Bank Cormorant
- Giant Petrel
- Arctic Skua
- Swift Tern
- Kelp Gull
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