Daily Trip 06 March 2018

We got to see our very first Sub Antarctic Skua of the season today, along with 4 of the Marine Big 5!

Written by Jax, March 6 2018

Daily Trip 06 March 2018

Guide Summary and Photographs

We had some incredible sightings out on Whale Whisperer today, with 4 of the Marine Big 5 giving us a show on our tour.Armed with camera’s, binoculars and some trusty orange jackets, we

hit the ocean at around 11:00 and cruised through our shallow harbour, spotting a few Crowned Cormorants along the way.

Once we had made it to the shallows, we did a quick YSI reading before spotting one of our absolute favourite sights, a free swimming Great White Shark! These majestic predators are famous for frequenting our shoreline, with us having sighted them in water only 1.5m deep! A fan of taking slow, the average cruising speed of our whites is only around 4km, which allowed us to get some great views of this pretty guy.

Whilst watching the shark, we struck luck again when 3 Indian Ocean Humpback Dolphins surfaced only metres away! Sharks are certainly known to include dolphins in their diet, but this shark was not in the mood to bite off more than it could chew, so it carried along on its way, uninterested in the presence of everybody’s favourite toothed whales.

Humpback Dolphins are always a special treat as their numbers have dwindled considerably over the years, with human influence being a major threat to this unique and beautiful species.  These dolphins were also joined by a lone Cape Fur Seal who seemed to take the phrase “safety in numbers” to heart. It’s always special to be able to see marine mammals of different species interact, so we enjoyed the spectacle for a bit before heading on over to Joubert’s Dam for some shark action.

At our sister company, Marine Dynamics, we were able to see a different species of shark, known most commonly as a Copper Shark or Bronze Whaler. These requiem beauties are most famous for their large aggregations which come together during our annual sardine run. At our boats, we get to see some large individuals, with some reaching a size of 3.3m! We also got another view of a great White Shark at one of the other companies, with the shark having a very distinctive pigmentation mark on its dorsal fin that we commonly refer to a “Rosie”.

Once we’d had our sharky fill we were south bound towards Dyer Island, in the hopes of spotting Africa’s only endemic penguin species. The island is named after Sampson Dyer who came from America to whale but, instead, ended up on the island clubbing seals before guano harvesting became the islands major function. Once we had spotted a few African Penguins, we moved out of Sponge Bay and into Shark Alley where our seal colony was patiently waiting to be admired.

This was an eventful stop with us finding Bank Cormorants, Black Oystercatchers and even a few Ruddy Turnstones amongst our fur seals. The seals were also a delight to watch, with many deciding to enter the water at precisely the same time – and through the same narrow crevice I might add – which made for a very amusing scene. We also picked up a piece of Sea Bamboo here for our brave guests to sample. This particular kelp species is by far our most abundant, with kelp forests growing all along the extensive reef systems which run through our bay.

On the way back to the harbour, we had a lovely surprise when a Sub Antarctic Skua (Brown Skua) approached the boat! A tell-tale sign that the seasons are changing, it is always lovely to have these large, curious gulls about as they make for a great show when investigating the boat for potential snacks. The last sight of the day was a Giant Petrel just outside the harbour, which made for a great end to a fantastic day at sea.

A Bird List for all of our lovely birders:

African Penguin

Bank Cormorant

Black OysterCatcher

Cape Cormorant

Crowned Cormorant

Giant Petrel

Hartlaubs Gull

Juvenile Cape Gannet

Kelp Gull

Ruddy Turnstone

Sub Antarctic Skua

Swift Tern

White Breasted Cormorant

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