Guide Summary and Photographs
After several days of wind, we’ve had a bit of a lull which made for a spectacular sea day. Wind is an almost every day occurrence here in our summer months with the South Easterly being our most predominant contributor. This wind is synonymous with a drop in water temperature and upwelling, where nutrients and cold water are brought from the bottom of the ocean to the surface.
Today however, the wind was leaning a little more towards the west which saw about a 2 degree increase in the notoriously chilly Atlantic. We know this due to the daily water reading that we do on our trips using the super handy YSI instrument to measure our temperature, oxygen and pressure levels. We usually do our first reading on the first stop of the day in front of the Uilenkraalsmond estuary, and today was no exception.
We launched at around 11:00 and made our way along the sandy shores of Uilenkraalsmond and Die Grys, stopping briefly to do a little research. It was a stunning day to be out on the water with great visibility, as one could actually see the maize of reefs we have running all throughout the bay. These reefs are home to the creatures we don’t really get to see too much on our trips, such as your Puffadder Shy Sharks. These reefs are also a major draw card for your larger predators, such as the Bronze Whaler Sharks that we got to see at one of the shark cage diving boats. The bronzies have been a really cool new addition to our species list over the last while and we’re enjoying every minute of their presence before icy cold waters will deter them from our area.
After a spotting a couple of these cuties, we moved over a reef system and picked up a piece of sea bamboo, our most abundant kelp species in the area. Kelp is a fast growing Algae associated with a cold current such as the Benguela. We spotted a few African Penguins next and spent some time watching and waiting in anticipation, with the group taking a couple of dives during our time together.
In the deep sea, we had a variety of different bird species including some Cape Cormorants, Giant Petrels and even a White Chinned Petrel. We don’t get to see the Petrels everyday as they are a pelagic bird family known for travelling thousands of kilometres to exploit different feeding grounds.
Our next stop was in the world famous waters of Shark alley where we spent some quality time with Africa’s only endemic seal species. Our fur seals fall under the “eared seal” family and can be seen all along the western coast of South Africa. During our time here, we found a pup in distress and tried to give him a second chance at life by dropping him off a little closer to the island than were we’d found him. Once we had our fair share of fur seal, we made our way around Dyer Island and towards Danger Point in the hopes of spotting some other marine life.
We spotted 5 more Giant Petrels on the way back to the harbour and decided to take a stop by them. These scavenging birds are well known for their need to run on the water before taking off and we got to see a couple of them do this today, which always makes for an awesome sight! The very last sighting of our trip happened to be inside the harbour itself, where many Cape Cormorants had descended in an effort to take advantage of the fish stocks moving through the area.
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