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A beautiful day at sea in some excellent weather which to included all of the Marine Big 5. Our trip started a little differently today, instead of heading towards the shallows, we made our way to Danger Point in search of whales. Instead we found a lone African Penguin floating on the surface. A great start to the day and a small hint of what was to come.
Soon after we stumbled across something a little different. Amazingly we found a pod of 20 common dolphins including a tiny calf greeted us, the first sighting of these animals for the year. To top this off our crew also spotted a Bryde’s Whale not far from the boat. We could not believe our luck, both species of cetaceans and two of the Big 5 at the same time. After some beautiful sightings of the whale, we decided to leave our enormous friend behind and went in pursuit again of the fast-moving common dolphins.
The dolphins were extremely playful, often coming very close to the vessel and attempting to bow ride, a behaviour often associated with this species. The Common Dolphin is a very social animal, and pods can number in the thousands. They have a very complex hierarchy that keeps them orderly and they tend to create subgroups based on age and other factors. The majority of their diet comes from schools of fish however they will also consume squid and other cephalopods. It is not uncommon to these animals in close proximity to larger fish hunting whales as we did today. When these dolphins gather in large pods chasing fish, the push them together creating a bait ball, they whale will then lunge feed and consume hundreds of fish at any one time.
After spending plenty of time with these playful creatures we headed towards Dyer Island to say G’day to our Cape Fur Seal Colony. En route to the island another whale spout caught our eye, but we were soon moved on as he took a deep dive, these animals can hold their breath from up to twenty minutes.
Our playful pinniped friends lived up to their reputation with many cooling off in the shark alley right next to the boat. Geyser Rock, was slightly empty of seals today, the small black pups littering the rock. As always, everyone loved the seals so we moved on to the shark vessel to complete the Big 5 checklists.
We stayed at the shark cage dive site for a while in hopes of seeing a shark, and of course after a few minutes of waiting we were treated to a sizeable bronze whaler shark. The shark circled the bait a few times before we moved on as not to interfere with their operation.As we headed for shore we were filled some amazing memories of an unforgettable trip. A truly amazing experience at sea.
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