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Watching The Sharks – An Incredible Day At Sea

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An Incredible Day At Sea

Photo Credit: Chris Fallows. Apex Predators

13th February: What an incredible day at sea. It started off overcast and windy, more like a winter day than summer here, and a contrast to the bright sunshine of yesterday. I had forgotten how quickly the weather can change in False Bay and regretted my lack of a waterproof as we left the jetty. We soon perked up at finding a bait ball with common dolphin and gannets dive bombing the fish as we headed out to seal island though. It was the first dolphin sighting of the season and they were wonderful showing us their acrobatics in the early morning light. It is always incredible to see these feeding events and watch the dolphin herd the fish into a ball followed by the elegant gannets diving from on high. The wind picked up as we arrived at the island and it was a slow start waiting for sharks and watching the weather approaching from the south east. I was concerned we wouldn’t have much time if the wind chased us off the water sooner than expected. We often find that storms liven the sharks up however (possibly the change in pressure affecting their behaviour) and after a little while of waiting we had six sharks being lively around the bait that morning!

It was awesome watching one 3.8m female that our skipper is thinking of naming Trixie. She was so agile and liked to twist and turn fast as she approached the bait and then suddenly veered off for the decoy seal and vice versa. She is quite the madam and our guests had incredible dives with her and the other sharks. Everyone also loved the cute little shark that was only 2.8m long.

We also saw three predation events on sick seals close by the island. We don’t generally see the sharks hunting the seals at this time of year as they focus on other prey in the bay (fish and smaller sharks for example). It was like a day I’d expect later in the season with the hunting activity and the number of sharks we saw. Such a treat for us all.

And to top it all off we saw a short tailed devil ray by the bait, cory and sooty shearwaters brought in by the storm and then another bait ball on the way home with dolphin, gannets and seals as well. And I saw a whale breaching on the way to work….

We are hunkered down now as the south east winds blow through. I can’t wait to get back out after the storm and see how it has affected the wildlife behaviour in the bay.

It really is wonderful to be back in South Africa again with these magnificent sharks and Apex Shark Expeditions.


Blue Horizon

About Author

Kathryn has lived in the UK, Egypt, South Africa and New Zealand and is a trained scuba diving instructor and Great White shark safari guide. She is the author of No Damage (December 2014), the Managing Editor of The Scuba News New Zealand, a freelance writer, public speaker and co-founder of the marine conservation cause Friends for Sharks (August 2014). In 2015 she organised and completed a 10-month global speaking tour in aid of shark conservation: 87 events, 8 countries, 7000 people. Learn more about Kathryn’s book, No Damage at: http://www.kathrynhodgsonauthor.com/books/no-damage/

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