“Thanks for a great and adventurous experience. Dankie!” – Melissa & Dirk
“Fun. Learned a lot. Crew is awesome. Thank you!” – Rina
We set off this morning in some slightly overcast conditions, however spirits were high as we once more went in search of Gansbaai’s Marine Big 5. After an exhilarating ride out of the harbour, we entered The Shallows and soon came across five beautiful Humpback Dolphins. The dolphins were breath taking, with one giving us a fantastic aerial acrobatics display, breaching completely out the water on numerous occasions. This was extremely exciting to see as these generally placid animals were giving us one amazing show. Absolutely entranced by this display, we seemed to overlook a raft of four African penguins, two adults and two juvenile blues just off the front of the boat.
What a great start to the trip, with both sets of animals giving us some excellent sightings. We stayed with the penguins and dolphins for a while before heading off to Slashfin to see if we could spot any sharks around the cage. As we pulled up to Slashfin, two Bronze Whaler Sharks were circling the bait lines. Also known as copper sharks, they have been very frequent in recent times in the bay, often seeing up to 10 individuals at once around the cage site. These two sharks we particularly active and gave us some great views and photo opportunities. Bronze Whaler Sharks are normally found in temperate waters and prefer to stay in large groups following schools of fish, unlike the white shark, that tends to lead a solitary life. Migrations of these sharks are generally due to reproductive events and the availability of food, during such times can travel over 1300 kilometres.
Another thrilling journey to Island led us to our Cape Fur Seal Colony. Often referred to as the “puppies of the ocean”, our seals certainly lived up to their reputation today. Many of the younger seals made the short swim to our boat and showed off their acrobatic abilities to everyone on board. The Cape Fur Seal is endemic to Southern Africa and common in the cool waters of the Benguela Current, found as far north as the southern tip of Angola, with colonies along the Namibian coast and South Africa, up to Agola bay near Port Elizabeth. They are generally seen along coastlines rich in kelp as it provides them with protection from their greatest threat, the Great White Shark. Kelp forests are rich in crustaceans and molluscs which form a large part of their diet.
After leaving the Island we headed towards Danger Point in search of whales, but instead were again greeted by a huge flock of Cape and Bank Cormorants. Two juvenile Giant Petrels were also seen taking off as we approached and glided around our vessel offering some great photo opportunities. Unfortunately, no whales today, but 4 out of the Marine Big 5 is an amazing result nonetheless.
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