We started off the trip with a lone ranger Indian Ocean Humpback dolphin sporadically surfacing around the boat. He was taking his time underwater while using eco location to hunt in the murky waters of the bay, creating pictures using sound. After some cool sightings of sharks, seals and penguins, we started making our way into deeper water. The crew’s excitement started building as we spotted our largest residential seabirds, the Cape Gannet, scattered over the bay. Not only are the gannets a great indicator of schooling fish species and other marine life in our bay, the birds themselves are super cool and also beautiful to boot! They are the birds you’ll see in documentaries diving into the water to hunt for fish at incredible speeds. They will reach speeds of over 80km an hour while diving from heights of about 30m! This is no simple feat and these birds are well adapted for the dive! Firstly their husky blue eyes are incredible at spotting fish from high in the air. Secondly, they don’t have nostrils so water cannot shoot up their nose as they hit the water. They have air pockets in the back of their vertebra to help soften the impact. This hunting behaviour requires a vast amount of skill. We have found several with broken wings that had their timing a split second off before hitting the water. I have been fortunate enough to dive in bait balls with the amazing birds and not only is it incredible to see birds swimming around you 10m deep but it also sounds like a machine gun as hundreds of them hit the water on large bait balls!
Come check them out while they are here!