16 April 2017

A juvenile Giant Petrel in a Precarious situation...

Written by Jax, April 16 2017

16 April 2017

Guide Summary and Photographs

Although the moon has started to wane, our low tide is still pretty low so we launched a little earlier than expected out of Kleinbaai Harbour this morning. We followed our usual route, hugging the coastline whilst moving towards the shark cage diving vessels. Along the way, we spotted two of our Cape Fur Seals who had decided to try their luck hunting in the shallow waters on this lazy Easter Sunday.

When we stopped at Slashfin, we came across quite a precarious scene. A young Northern Giant Petrel was checking out our bait whilst quite a large Great White Shark was luring below. Giant Petrels often struggle to take off from the water and often have to run a bit to gain momentum. This makes them very vulnerable to curious Great Whites who are attracted to the dark shadow the bird’s leave when sitting on top of the water.

Luckily for the bird, this large specimen moved off and left him in peace. A short while later, another White Shark surfaced. The second shark was absolutely tiny in comparison and definitely a juvenile. He didn’t seem to phased by the bird and came up to investigate the bait for us, which was just in time as we were about to head off in the direction of Dyer Island.

On the way, we spent some time with a large flock of Cape Cormorants who were out on a fishing mission. There were many Kelp Gulls in between them, looking to take advantage of the cormorant’s excellent diving abilities. Cormorants can dive up to 20m deep and are excellent predators, unfortunately the Kelp Gulls are excellent thieves and they often steal the fish from this endangered species once they resurface.

After watching the birds for a bit, we went to go check out their nesting grounds on Dyer Island. Here, we also tried to spot an African Penguin with the Cormorants make it nearly impossible, as they make for great camouflage.

Our daily visit to our Cape Fur Seal Colony was followed by a trip out of the washing machine, after which we stopped to get some kelp out of our engines.  We head towards Danger Point after this and spotted some Swift Terns as well as a Cape Gannet or two along the way. This was all that the deep sea held for us today so we decided to head back to the harbour and we had a Sub Antarctic Skua join us for the last leg of our journey, flying beside us to the glee of many on board

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