Daily Trip 04 March 2018
Our first Southern Rights of the year!
Written by Will Gilmore, March 4 2018
Guide Summary and Photographs
After two days off the sea due to inclement weather, we headed out in high spirits to see what our unique ecosystem had in store for us. Amazingly our first sighting was none other than a very large Great White Shark. This massive animal passed us a few times before we had to move on as the vibrations from our engines may have been distracting the sharks. This beautiful creature was just the start of a wonderful experience at sea.
As we made our way out of the shallows towards Sandy Point, we noticed something strange in the water, two Southern Right Whales spy hopping. A completely unbelievable sighting as our whale season ended in December and will not start again until June. The Southern Right Whale is easily identifiable by callosities, hardened irregular patches of thickened and keratinized tissues located on the end of the rostrum, on the lower lips and chin, above the eyes and in front of and behind the blowhole. On these callosities, three species of amphipod crustaceans reside, it is not clear whether this relationship is harmful to the whales. These crustaceans are what gives the callosities a white colour, in sick or young individuals tend to have a more orange colour to the callosity. The size and shape of callosities are unique to each individual which aids with photo ID of the animals for population estimates.
These two beautiful animals were mother and calf and remained very relaxed around us, spy hopping to check us out on board. We were with the pair for a quite a while before we moved on over De Clyde Reef to continue with our tour.On our way to Dyer Island, we came across a raft of around seven African Penguins, including a juvenile blue. In larger numbers, these tiny marine birds are relatively calm around vessels, providing us with some excellent views and photography opportunities.
We then moved on to see the 4th member of the Marine Big 5, the Cape Fur Seal colony on Geyser rock in the famous Shark Alley. As we arrived in the alley our seals were very playful, porpoising around the boat and causing a commotion on the rock and in the water. This wasn’t to be our last sighting however, we spotted two Giant Petrels on the way back to the harbour completing our amazing sea safari.
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