Guide Summary and Photographs
There was a bit of wind out at sea today with a South Easter gusting and picking up the water a little. This was absolutely no stress for us or our lovely clients, due to our new wet weather pants that are designed to keep us all dry and toasty. After putting on these attractive khaki numbers and pairing them up with some fashionable orange jackets, we all waddled down to the harbour to begin the first tour of the day.
We were in luck when we found quite a few Southern Right Whales enjoying the shelter of our bay, with a mating group catching our attention early in the trip. Whilst approaching, one could see a variety of behaviours from these gentle giants including some pectoral flipper action with the highlight of the trip happening just as we stopped the boat.
As if scripted, we had two of these gorgeous creatures pop up close to the boat, with the one animal spy hopping whilst the other exhaled, giving us all a chance to see that beautiful blow. We stayed with this group for quite some time watching them rolling about, doing what we presume to be some sort of courtship to woo the female. As soon as this female becomes pregnant, she will begin her long journey down to sub Antarctica where she will stay for a year before returning to our waters to give birth to a not so little baby, who can weigh around a ton at birth!
Whilst watching the whales, we also got to see some of our endangered Cape Cormorants make their way out to sea. Interestingly, these little black birds are not fully waterproof, which means that after a dive, they need to air out their wings to dry up a bit before carrying on with their day.
We stopped at Slashfin next to see if there were any animals of the gilled variety around and sure enough, we got to see a Great White Shark. In general, we know very little about the mating and parental behaviour of sea creatures but the White Sharks certainly take the cake for being the most mysterious, with us never having recorded this species mating or giving birth. After a lovely couple of passes, we head on down to Dyer Island and Geyser Rock, spotting a Giant Petrel along the way.
After a stop at our cape fur seals, we head on back to the mainland to pick up our next group, who looked equally as attractive in their wind and waterproof attire. We managed 3 of the Marine Big 5 on this tour with the whales coming Super close and two really relaxed African Penguin being the highlights of the trip.
Our Penguins are notoriously boat shy but these two didn’t seem to give a hoot about our presence, doing some bathing and bobbing in the ice cold Atlantic. One of the Penguins was a juvenile, which we will affectionately refer to as a “baby blue” until it moults into its adult colouration.
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