Daily Trip 31 January 2018

A Marine Big 5 kind of day....

Written by Jax, January 31 2018

Daily Trip 31 January 2018

Guide Summary and Photographs

What a beautiful day on our marine safari, perfect conditions and of course all of the Marine Big 5. Today, on board our trusty whale watching vessel, Dream Catcher. We quickly spotted three Indian Ocean Humpback Dolphins in The Shallows. The dolphins were extremely playful today, coming within meters of the boat. These animals are South Africa’s rarest cetacean numbering around 500 individuals. We have catalogued around 30 individuals that frequent our waters, the three we saw today have been sighting often in recent weeks. Unfortunately, for these dolphins, they tend to reside in depths of around 20 meters or less which puts them in close proximity to human activity. An overwhelming threat to these animals to chemical runoff from chemicals such as pesticides into the oceans. Toxins can work their way up the food chain and become concentrated in top predators, such as the dolphins, specifically this can contaminate the milk of mother dolphins and can kill newborn calves.

We moved on to our sister company, Marine Dynamics to see if they had a shark to show us. Recently, our Great White sharks have been slightly scarce but fortunately, Copper Sharks have been visiting our boats. The cage dive operation had just started when we arrived so it took some time before getting a great view of a copper shark. Copper Sharks, also known as Bronze Whalers, are named as such due to their bronze colouration, but also, they would follow whaling boats in search of a free meal. Unlike the Great Whites, coppers are schooling sharks and can be seen in vast numbers following schools of fish.

It was then time to travel Dyer Island in search of the endangered African Penguins and the spirited Cape Fur Seals. On our way, we came across a pair of very dapper African Penguins floating on the water. We managed a few quick glimpses of the birds but they quickly took off as the penguins are often quite skittish around large boats. Following this we headed over De Clyde, a reef system covered in Kelp that stretches from the mainland to the Island. Kelp forests cover the western coasts of the African Continent and thrive in the cool waters of the Benguela current. Kelp forests are idea habitat for some of the favourite food of our next sighting, the Cape Fur Seal. Fur Seals often travel into deeper waters for better fishing but will also eat many crustacean and mollusc species living in the underwater forests.

We entered the famous Shark Alley and were greeted by our 60,000 strong Cape Fur Seal Colony. The island was very busy today, many seals both in and out of the water. Often known as the fast food chain of the Ocean, Geyser Rock where our seals reside is frequented by our larger great whites in the winter months, picking off the inexperienced pups learning how to swim. It was also great to see some juvenile males on the island slowly growing their manes. The males of the species are much larger than the females, and spend most of their lives in the open ocean hunting fish, only returning to the island to fight for his group of females which is known as a harem.

Deciding to leave our playful pinniped pals behind, we headed out behind the island in search of our elusive resident whale species, the Bryde’s Whale. Recently we haven’t had much luck with spotting whales, but today within a few moments our whale spotter, Kira, saw a spout in the distance. Once we eventually caught up with the whale, it gave us some excellent views and photograph opportunities. These whales can grow around 14 meters in length and are able to hold their breath for up to 20 minutes. The Bryde’s Whales are baleen whales, which means they filter through baleen plates instead of using teeth to hunt like toothed whales such as the sperm whale.

The ocean was full of life today and we even spotted more whale spouts on the way back to the harbour as well as many amazing bird species we saw on our voyage around the Dyer Island System.

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If you would like to get hold of your trip footage, please download the credit card authorization form here to complete and forward it through to bookings@whalewatchsa.com. Please be sure to mention the date and launching time with response. Our team will reply with a direct link to your video footage for download, please allow 72 hours to footage to be uploaded. Download link will be valid for 6 months.For more Whale facts and updates, also “Like” our Dyer Island Cruises Facebook fan page. If you would like to review your trip online to help others choose the right whale watching company, please visit our TripAdvisor page and leave your feedback

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