Guide Summary and Photographs
We were treated to a picturesque day on the water today, blue skies and calm seas, a beautiful day to peruse the Marine Big 5. Our sea safari began in The Shallows in search of our rarest coastal cetacean, the Indian Ocean Humpback Dolphin, with an estimated 500 individuals remaining. Unfortunately, these dolphins eluded us so we headed over to our sister company Marine Dynamics in hope of catching a glimpse of a shark.
After waiting for a few moments, we were in luck, a large Copper Shark took some interest in the bait line. Copper Sharks, also known as Bronze Whalers get their name from the coloration on their backs. The name ‘whaler’ is derived from foraging behaviour during the time of whaling as they would follow the sent trails of the whaling vessels and feed on any scraps thrown overboard. Since the abolition of Whaling where these sharks occur, they are most association with the sardine run up and down the South African coastline. After some nice sightings, we left the cage diving site for deeper water behind the Island.
Our journey out into deeper water took us over a reef system known as the De Clyde and soon spotted the spout of a whale. While in pursuit we were set upon by two African Penguins, these two were quite skittish around our vessel but our skipper soon spotted a raft of 6 Penguins just off the front of the boat. We soon left our feathered friends behind to peruse the largest member of the Marine Big 5. As we followed the spouts it became clear that there were at least 4 Bryde’s Whales in the area. One was very close to the boat and provided some excellent photograph opportunities. These whales are known as the Ferrari’s of the sea and can sometimes be sporadic with their movements which was certainly the case today, as this individual surfaced on all sides of the vessel.
Once everyone had been given plenty of opportunities to view the animal we headed for Geyser Rock to say G’day to our 60,000 strong Cape Fur Seal Colony. As we arrived the crew’s attention was taken away from the seals to a little juvenile African Penguin. This little guy seemed slightly lethargic and unable to swim properly away from the boat. We tried to catch the bird but he soon proved he was ok by taking a deep dive away from us. African Penguin numbers are declining rapidly, up to around 90 birds a week along the coast. For the conservation of these birds it is important we rescue and sick or injured birds and take them back to our sea bird sanctuary for rehabilitation. On departing the alley, we spotted a Southern Giant Petrel, identified by the green tip on the bill, feeding on what seemed to be a deceased seal pup. This was to be our last sighting of the trip. What an amazing tip today, in perfect weather and calm seas we managed an astonishing 4 out of the Marine Big 5.
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