We had the most fantastic time out at sea today, with Bottlenose Dolphins seen left, right and center. After 4 days off the water, we had been itching to get out and do some spotting, so we set out at 11 after the swell dropped and almost immediately came across a pod of Bottlenose Dolphins hanging around in the swell just behind Black Sophie’s Rock. These animals will travel vast distances following the fish resources up and down the coast, so we always feel super privileged when we do get to spend some quality time with a pod.
Today, we were especially thrilled when we spotted a couple of teeny tiny calves in the mix, as there are few things more adorable than a baby dolphin. We spent the next twenty minutes in awe of this gorgeous pod, who were having some fun and moving sporadically through the bay. The visibility was great today which meant that we were able to watch the dolphins swim under the surface, which is one of the most incredible things that we get to witness out at sea. the dolphins swam with us for a while, and we even got to see one dolphin doing some lobtailing, which is when they slap their tails against the water! After this awesome sighting, we decided it was time to pay a visit to some more predators over at the shark cage diving boats.
Here, we got some lovely sights of our curious Copper Sharks who seemed to be giving the divers a once in a lifetime experience in the water. There were a couple of sharks about and we got to watch as they came up to have a look at our bait lines, exposing their dorsal fins as they made their way in for a closer view.
We then took a stop in Sponge Bay to look for the only bird in the Marine Big 5, our pretty little African Penguins. Although the Cape Cormorants made for some tricky spotting, we all eventually located the penguins before travelling with some more Bottlenose Dolphins and cruising by the Cape Fur Seals of Geyser Rock. We decided, after our time in Shark Alley, to check out the back of the island to see if there was any more wildlife who needed watching.
We caught up with a pod of Bottlenose Dolphins once more, but the show was stolen by a very unusual fish. Whilst watching the dolphins, who had been picking up speed, we got the surprise of our lives when a couple of Flying Fish jumped out the water! Although they are seen up the coast, this was the first sighting in our field of study for all the Dream Catcher crew, who have thousands of hours of experience here. We were all ecstatic after having seen these gorgeous and unusual fish take to the air. Flying fish are more commonly found in warmer water and can spent over 30 seconds in the air, travelling many meters to evade predation.
Content with all that we had seen and experienced in our 2 hours out on the deep blue, we made our way back to the harbor after a spectacular end to a spectacular tour.
What species did we see today?
At present there are two recognized species of bottlenose dolphin, and in some cases, both species can be found in the same area. The two species are the common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), and the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin (T. aduncus). In addition, there is a great deal of variation in colouration, diet and behaviour. The difference between the common bottlenose and Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin are subtle, but the common bottlenose dolphin generally larger and more robust with a slight darker colouration.
African Penguin Cape fur seal