Guide Summary and Photographs
Perfect conditions greeted us in Kleinbaai harbour as we set off on our Marine Safari. Our first sighting came within the harbour itself, a White-breasted Cormorant had perched itself on top of a concrete pole. The White-breasted Cormorant is one of the 5 species of cormorants found in the Overberg area and the only form of great cormorant in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Once more on board our trusty whale watching vessel, Whale Whisperer, we followed the coastline all the way to De Clyde reef before our guide Kira, spotted our elusive Humpback Dolphins. Three dolphins were hunting fish along the reef and to our amazement, a Cape Fur Seal was following the hunt. This may be considered cooperative hunting, but we are unsure whether the seal was waiting for the dolphins to do the work or actually aiding in pursuit of the fish. Due to an extensive data base of dorsal identification photographs built up by the Dyer Island Conservation Trust, these three dolphins have been recognised and seen in the area before on different occasions. The Trust uses this data base to aid in population studies of the Humpback Dolphins, each dorsal fin is unique to an individual and by knowing which animals frequent these waters, we can estimate the number of dolphins in the area.
We were unfortunate not to spot a shark at our sister company, Marine Dynamics, so we headed out towards Dyer Island to our Cape Fur Seal Colony. As we entered the world-famous Shark Alley, we were met by 60,000 noisy pinnipeds that gathered on Geyser Rock. The Alley itself was slightly empty of seals today, but nevertheless the seals on the rock provided us with some excellent photo opportunities. In December, the seals give birth to tiny black pups that litter the island which pups enter the water for the first time when they are around three months old. This is when our larger Great White Sharks enter the alley in search of an easy meal. It is estimated that only 50% of the pups will live to see their first birthday.
Upon leaving the alley and heading to calmer waters on the protected side of Dyer Island, we were surprised by two Southern Giant Petrels sitting on the water. As they took off we were treated to some spectacular view of the giant birds gliding around the boat. The Giant Petrel has a wingspan of around two meters from tip to tip and can weigh up to 5 kilos.
Our waters seemed fairly empty of our larger cetacean species today so before heading back to Kleinbaai, we headed once more to the Shark Cage Diving Vessel. While en route to the dive site, we encountered a large flock of Cape Cormorants resting on the water, we slowly moved past them before they began to fly off towards the island. Within minutes at the shark cage diving vessel, we had spotted a large copper shark investigating the bait. Copper Sharks, also known as bronze whalers, are a large schooling shark and are often see in packs of up to 10 individuals around the boat.
This was our last of the day sighting before heading off back to Kleinbaai, wrapping up a wonderful day on the water.
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