Daily Trip 22 April 2018

4 of the Marine Big 5 and a juvenile Giant Petrel in a perilous predicament...

Written by Jax, April 22 2018

Daily Trip 22 April 2018

Guide Summary and Photographs

We had an action-packed time out at sea today, with us spotting 4 of the Marine Big 5  on this not so lazy Sunday. At 10:00, we launched out of Kleinbaai harbour onto a stunning ocean and, after only 5 minutes at sea, we spotted the first animals of the day. Luck was clearly on our side as we had happened upon a pod of Bottlenose Dolphins travelling through the bay. These gorgeous echo locators only pass through our area, so we always feel incredibly privileged to get to spend some time with them. In this pod, we had several individuals including a couple of younger animals, who surfaced every know and then to the delight of us all. These beauties were clearly enjoying the gentle swell we had rolling in, so we spent some time observing them, just as they were us, when they got a little closer to our vessel, Dream Catcher.

After snapping away with our camera to hearts content, we decided to move along towards Slashfin, in the hopes of spotting one of natures most iconic predators. Our luck had not run out just yet which meant we were able to spot a large White Shark who was investigating the decoy and the bait line in front of the boat, both of which are designed to get the sharks just a little bit closer. Once we had seen the dorsal fin of this gorgeous guy, we decided that we’d move towards Shark Alley to check out the White Sharks favourite food source: The Cape Fur Seal.

On the way, we spotted a few African Penguins, one in the water and the rest on Dyer Island. The island was exceptionally empty today with most of our Cape Cormorants heading out to do some fishing. The Swift Terns were however out in full force and could be seen and heard from quite a distance away. Our last stop before the alley was with around 20 Giant Petrels who were sitting on the water. Often, their take off is the most impressive thing about these massive birds but, today, there was a little commotion amongst two of our feathered friends. These Petrels seemed to be involved in a brawl of sorts, which was an awesome sight to behold, we also had a Petrel taking a bath a few meters away, seemingly unphased by the tension in the air.

Shark Alley was the next stop of the day with our Cape Fur Seals being their typical jovial selves. We cruised through the alley a couple of times, enjoying the sight of what can only be compared to 60 000 wet Labradors. Towards the end of our time in the alley, things got a bit interesting for a juvenile Northern Giant Petrel, as he seemed to have caught the attention of a gang of juvenile seals. The seals were trying their luck with this poor bird, nipping at him and going at him from below. Seals are a very intelligent group of animals and, being highly opportunistic, we would not be at all surprised if that poor Petrel had to meet his demise at the hands of these mischievous little creatures.

Once we left Shark Alley, we kept our eyes peeled for the spout of a whale or some bird action. there was no lack of the latter with Sooty Shearwaters, Cape Gannets, an Arctic Skua and even a Corey Shearwater. The Arctic Skua (also known as a Parasitic Jaeger) was being a bit of a pest, badgering a poor Swift Tern in the hopes that he might regurgitate his lunch. The Corey Shearwaters were gliding past us, showing off their white under bellies as they zoomed by. These birds come all the way from islands off of Spain and Portugal and are believed to be monogamous breeders, which is something that we also believe to be true for our Penguins.

Once we’d searched our bay far and wide, we decided to return back to the harbour to enjoy some piping hot vegetable soup and a homemade bread roll…or 3.

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