Lyons “Great trip, thank you!”
It took us a little white to find our wildlife today, our first of the big 5 was our little African penguins in raft of over ten individuals. It always amazing to see the birds in groups this large as the are more comfortable and less skittish in our presence. In recent history Africa’s only endemic penguin has a sad story tell, firstly in the early 1800’s, guano (penguin droppings) that stood over 4 meters tall was scraped off the island and used for fertiliser, leaving the birds homeless as they made nest within in Guano. This lead to further problems, the eggs were exposed to harsh sunlight often overheating and killing them. Kelp Gulls also fed on the eggs and newborn chicks decimating the population. Humans also had another role to play in removing eggs from the island as they were considered a delicacy, removing 1,000,000 eggs in one season. Over fishing of the area has left these birds starving and foraging further and further out to sea for food. All these factors combined has caused a 90% drop in the population leaving us today with only 900 breeding pairs on the Island. However, not all hope is lost as the Dyer Island Trust has been placing artificial houses on the island for the birds and set up a Penguin and Sea Bird Sanctuary to aid injured and sick birds found in our ecosystem. As we made our way through the deep sea, a very surprising character was spotted. A Mola Mola. The Mola Mola, or sunfish, is the largest bony fish in the world an can reach lengths over over two meters long. The sunfish is rarely seen in our waters and follows its favourite prey, the jellyfish on warm ocean current. The fish however darted past us quite quickly but everyone on board managed to get a glimpse of this weird but awesome creature of the deep. We then moved on towards Geyser Rock to say hello to our resident Cape Fur Seal Colony. Today our pinniped friends were as playful as ever, juveniles porpoising around the vessel while the adults and pups were causing a ruckus on the land. This was a final sighting before heading back to the harbour filled with unforgettable memories from our trip.
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