10 April 2017

Cape Cormorants and some Common Dolphins...

Written by Jax, April 10 2017

10 April 2017

Guide Summary and Photographs

It was an interesting day out at sea with quite a few small schools of fish around. This brought with it some pretty cool sea birds and a pod of Common Dolphins, which is always exciting!

We departed the harbour at 11:00 this morning and moved slowly towards Uilenkraalsmond. We stopped here to do our daily YSI reading and, just as we were about to move off, one of our clients spotted an African Penguin. We watched him bob around in the swells for a bit before setting off again. A little later we managed to spot an Arctic Skua (Parasitic Jaeger) chasing down a Sub Antarctic Skua, hoping that it would regurgitate it’s lunch.

At Slashfin, we stopped for a bit and got to watch a Great White do a slight breach out of the water. This is always a spectacular sight as one is reminded of the sheer power that these misunderstood predators yield. We did not spend too much time here, moving off in the direction of hundreds of Cape Cormorants returning from their morning fishing expedition.

It is absolutely amazing to watch these birds move together and one can’t help but wonder how these guys actually go about finding their prey. Scientists are still unsure, with some believing that eyesight and scent play a role in it.

We checked out their home, Dyer Island, after this and managed to spot a couple of Penguins sitting on the pebbles and between the boulders. It is so scary to think that these beautiful birds may be extinct within the next 20 years, leaving a gap in the eco system with implications we have yet to even predict.

Our next stop was with our local Cape Fur Seal colony. We had many seals in the water, playing and cooling off on what turned out to be a warm autumn’s day. With two layers of fur and some blubber on those bones, it’s easy to see why these guys can get a little hot in the sun but, luckily their bodies are built to cope with this. Seals have a lot of blood vessels running through their flippers, when they expose their flippers to the cool wind just above the surface of the ocean, their body temperature decreases and we call this thermoregulation.

After this we head behind the island where we were lucky to have a pod of Common Dolphins catch up with us. This was a beautiful sighting with these majestic cetaceans jumping completely out of the water, exposing their stream-lined bodies with that distinctive patch of yellow. The dolphins stayed with us for quite a while, bow riding and approaching the boat from the front.

This was definitely the highlight of the trip but the sea birds we saw following this were a great finish. White-Chinned Petrels, some Sooty Shearwaters, a Corey Shearwater, a Sub Antarctic Skua and some Swift Terns were all in the line up and made for an enjoyable end to our daily eco tour.

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