Guide Summary and Photographs
The Cape of storms has been living up to her name over the last couple of days, bringing some much needed rain but also preventing us from going to sea, that is until this morining.
With scattered cumulus clouds and a cold southerly breeze coming through, our first trip of the day set out towards Pearly Beach, where we were able to find a mating group of Southern Right Whales. This is always a lucky find as the whales are a little more relaxed and we get to see quite a bit of surface action, as the males try to woo the females. With up to 9 males in these surface active groups, it’s safe to say that the female does become a bit exhausted after a while, causing her to push her belly out of the water in an effort to get a little rest.
After a couple of close encounters, we took a stop by Geyser Rock to check out our Cape Fur Seals, most of which were lounging around on the rocky outcrops of this 3 hectare island. The mating strategy of these playful pinnipeds is pretty different from that of our whales, with the males establishing what we call “Harems”. These harems can consist of up to 50 females per fellow, with the females being able to mate again only a week after they have given birth to this year’s pup.
Once we’d given the seals some attention, we head back to collect our second group of clients who were lucky enough to see a pretty large Great White Shark ambush the bait from below. In terms of their reproduction, amazingly we have never recorded them mating or giving birth, we’re not entirely sure where it all goes down. Following our stop here, we moved over The Clyde Reef System before catching up with another Mating group of Southern Rights, who did a couple of really nice approaches.
The last trip of the day also got to see these gentle giants, but were also able to cross the mighty Humpback Whale off of their list when kira spotted a few just behind Dyer Island. This was an absolutely breath-taking experience, as it seemed as though the adults were trying to show the juvenile the boat, much like the parents on board were trying to show their little ones the whales.
The whales came exceptionally close, the one even rolling on its back only meters away. This exposed a large area of barnacles growing on the belly, something which is commonly found on the bodies of Humpback whales. The barnacles latch onto to the whales and begin a symbiotic relationship with the whale where they are hitching a ride with these majestic creatures, catching food along the way. The whale is not harmed but it does not benefit either and we call this commensalism. These barnacles can weigh up to a staggering 500kg, which the whales carry with them throughout their travels.
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