Guide Summary and Photographs
We had a bit of a wind blowing when we left Klienbaai Harbour on our marine safari on board our whale watching vessel, Whale Whisperer. A very exciting ride through the shallows lead us to our Shark Cage Diving boat, Slashfin. Fortunately for us, a Bronze Whaler Shark was very interested in investigating the bait line, made from fish heads and held together by a biodegradable rope. Bronze Whaler Sharks can reach a size of about 3.3 metres (11ft) in length. Bronze Whalers are also a schooling shark and can be seen around the boat in groups of up to 10 individuals, but to catch a glimpse of just one shark is amazing.
After leaving the sharks behind, we set off for Dyer Island and Geyser rock. Our course was a little smoother than before as we were in slightly deeper water, with the island providing some protection from the offshore winds to pull into Dyer Island to catch a sight of our endangered African Penguins. The African Penguins on Dyer Island have a sad story to tell. Their numbers have dropped drastically since the first settlers first came to the area. In the 1920’s there was an estimated 1,00,000 breeding pairs, now around just 900. This was due to Guano scrapping on the Island which was used as plant fertiliser, in turn left the birds without a home to raise their chicks. Without a home, the eggs became vulnerable to collection by the locals and the chicks vulnerable to predation.
Although their numbers a dwindling, we still managed to get a glimpse of these amazing birds amongst the thousands of cape cormorants that also inhabit the island. Nevertheless, not all hope is lost for the penguins, our dedicated team at the African Penguin and Sea Bird Sanctuary are working tirelessly with the Dyer Island Conservation Trust, to rehabilitate and release injured penguins and sea birds back into the ecosystem.
As we left Dyer Island and arrived in Shark Alley, we were greeted by our 60,000-strong Cape Fur Seal colony on Geyser Rock. The rock is around 3 hectares in size and managed by Cape Nature Conservation and Marine and Costal Management. The advantage of being on board Whale Whisperer was that we were able to get closer to the rock, giving the clients a more intimate experience with the seals.
Although we did not make it behind the island today we still a very fun day on the water and some great sightings!
Written by William Gilmore
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