Daily Trip 19 December 2017

There was a lot to see out there today on a perfectly still ocean…

Written by Jax, December 20 2017

Daily Trip 19 December 2017

Guide Summary and Photographs

Wow! Today was really one of those days were nature’s wonders really showcased themselves. When you’re watching 60 tonne mammals for most of the trips, it’s very easy to forget about the smaller “Stuff” out there. Today, we decided to stop and check the little creatures out and found some fascinating stuff.

The first trip of the day started off with an African Penguin sighting in front of the Uilenkraalsmond estuary. We had 2 adults and a juvenile here, which we commonly refer to as a baby blue due to their skin having a bit of a blueish tint, after this, we made a b-line for Slashfin.

When we stopped at Slashfin, activity was a little slow on our side but, luckily, a boat anchored just next to us had a curious Bronze Whaler (Copper Shark around) so a few of our clients caught sight of one of these gorgeous sharks. From here on out, we were in search of some Southern Right Whales, making our way over the Clyde Reef System and into the waters of Pearly Beach.

Here, for the second day in a row, we found a pair of Southern Right Whales and an Indian Ocean Humpback Dolphin together! There’s nothing to suggest that these two species have been spending all their time together over the last few days, but it is absolutely amazing to see the interaction between these unlikely friends. Humpback Dolphins are known to travel alone, but, much like our seals, they seem to link up with the whales occasionally, with this guy moving with the whales for our entire sighting! We spent a full 20 minutes enjoying the spectacle, with the whales giving us a good show whilst the dolphin surfaced a few metres in front of them every so often. We decided to go and find the last member of the Marine Big 5 after this, leaving our cetaceans behind.

On the way to Dyer Island, we picked up a plastic bottle which had been floating in the ocean. Once we brought it up, we realised that the bottle was covered in Goose Barnacles. These stalked barnacles are much like our Southern Right Whales in that they are filter feeders. We don’t often get to have a look at crustaceans on our trips so this was super fascinating. Something incredibly fascinating – and slightly funny- about these little dudes is how they got their name. Back in the day, it was believed that these guys were the embryonic form of the Barnacle Goose, due to the fact that this goose species was migratory (something not yet understood at the time) and so no nesting site, eggs or chicks, could be found in the area of study. We also picked up a Portuguese Man of War or a Blue Bottle, which is a colony of organisms functioning as a unit.

At Geyser Rock, we also had an eventful time trying to help a young Cape Fur Seal pup find his way back to the island before returning to pick up the next group of clients.

Trip 2 started with a sighting of thousands of Cape Cormorants a free swimming Great White Shark in the shallows. This was quite a large animal, in the region of 3 3.5m, which was incredible to have around the boat. Once this dude went a bit deeper, we moved to Pearly Beach Where we had a gorgeous Southern Right Whale sighting, with the little calf spy hopping and giving us a lob tail before we head off. O the way to Dyer island, we picked up yet another bottle with Goose Barnacles but, also spotted 2 African Penguins. Following our stop with our Cape Fur Seal colony, we also got to see something quite unusual for our trips when we found a Cape Cormorant being feasted on by some large fish in Sponge Bay. We got to see some Giant Petrels and some Box Jellyfish on this trip too, before returning to the harbour.

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