23 February 2017 |Boat Based Tours

4 African Penguins were given a second chance today...

Written by Jax, February 23 2017

23 February 2017 |Boat Based Tours

Guide Summary and Photographs

Today’s trip started off in an unusual fashion with an exciting penguin release.  We made our way towards Dyer Island from the harbour with the 4 little guys sitting undisturbed in the cabin of Dream Catcher. It was a beautiful, still day out at sea and we arrived at the island after about 10 minutes of travel.

Here, Xolani, our resident penguin whisperer did the honours, opening up the transport boxes and tipping them over slightly, allowing the penguins to hop out into the cool Atlantic Ocean. One by one; Siân, Dippy, Patat and Mr Penguin Infanta leaped to freedom (to read more about their story, read our DICT Blog ). It is always incredibly special to be able to do our bit to help these endangered birds, even if it is just giving them a lift a little closer to home. We watched them swim for a little while before heading around the island where we managed to spot two little penguins huddled up together on the white boulders.

After this, we spent some time with the Cape Fur Seals at Geyser Rock. There were comparatively few seals in the water today, with the majority being packed in very close proximity on the island. This is always a humorous sight for our clients and we enjoyed our time here before heading to the deep sea. Here, we picked up a piece of Sea Bamboo (Ecklonia Maxima) so that we could have a look at the most abundant seaweed in the area.

These plants do not have any roots and instead gain their nutrients through their blades. They do however have a holdfast which they use to attach to the ocean floor. A very interesting feature of these plants is that their stipes are hollow, composed of one large pneumatocyst, which is filled with gas. Oxygen, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and nitrogen may be found within this hollow Pneumatocyst section, allowing the plant to float.

After this, we made our way back to our bay, cruising along the Clyde, to the shallows. Here, we were greeted with the sight of thousands of Cape Cormorants, who were sitting on the water. These birds, much like our African Penguin, are endangered although one would not say so when watching them create dark black patches on the ocean as they all group together.

Our next sighting was a great raft of about 7 African Penguins, very close to shore. When Penguins are alone, they tend to be quite boat shy so it is always nice to see a raft like this as they tend to be a little more relaxed. Our trip back towards the harbour was interrupted by more Cape Cormorants who had also decided it was a great day to be at sea.

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