Guide Summary and Photographs
After a day off the water, everyone was excited to get back on the water in search of Gansbaai’s Marine Big 5. We left the harbour in slightly cloudy conditions, although with high hopes we headed out into The Shallow’s in search of dolphins. There are three species of Dolphin that inhabit that waters of the Dyer Island System, the Indian Ocean Humpback Dolphin, the bottlenose Dolphin and the Common Dolphin. Seen most frequent in the area is the Humpback Dolphins, these are South Africa’s rarest cetacean and only 500 individuals are believed to exist. These dolphins tend to be sighted in depths of less than 20 meters which unfortunately puts them in close contact with human activities such as fishing and boating. Fortunately, the Dyer Island Conservation Trust is working on a data base to collect photographic information to help identify individual dolphins. By checking photographs for individual scratches, tares or cuts on the dorsal fin, we can estimate the number of dolphins in a local population.
We moved on to our cage diving site to meet with our sister company Marine Dynamics to try catch a glimpse of a shark. Sadly, neither copper sharks or great whites were seen. There has been a gradual drop in water temperature over the last week and this may be affecting our copper sharks as they tend to reside in warmer temperate waters.
Nonetheless, the second half of our sea safari was to completely surpass the first half. With the low-lying mist and low visibility, the alley was particularly eerie and the seals also seemed to be on edge as almost none were seen in the water. Despite this, it gave us an excellent chance to observe the new born pups interacting with their mothers and each other, providing some great photograph opportunities. As we left the alley into calmer waters on the sheltered side of the island, we were treated with a large raft of adult African Penguins. We were completely awestruck when they took a dive and began porpoising out of the water. Many on board including some of the crew had never seen this before!
Once again, we made the short journey back to the cage diving boat to check for sharks, once again were unsuccessful. We then headed back along The Shallows, one last chance to spot any dolphins before heading to the harbour. It wasn’t long before our whale spotter found us a small pod of five humpback dolphins just outside the surf zone. The usually shy animals were very playful around the boat, coming with a few meters of us. They stayed around for a while porpoising and showing off for us. Everyone on board was treated to some magnificent views of the dolphins as the continually passed the boat.
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