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Great White Shark Sightings around Seal Island

written by Monique Fallows

Posted on Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Chris & I had been away the week before this on board a 6 Star Cruise Ship, Serenity, where Chris was invited as a guest speaker. Needless to say the 6 star treatments was something completely new for us, especially after just camping in very rough conditions in the Himalayas! We weren’t complaining and had an amazing time on board enjoying both the exquisite food (!) and very interesting lectures by other guest speakers.

While we were away “White Pointer” was operating as per normal and Poenas and our team had some amazing shark sightings for this time of the year as well as great sightings of a large school of dolphin throughout the week.

Sunday ,17 April, was our first day back at Seal Island. We were welcomed back by a strong South East wind which meant hiding in the lee at the Northern side of the Island. The sharks were excellent and we ended up with 6 different animals throughout the day.

The following day we were automatically expecting good sharks, never a good thing to do! The day started off badly with Chris having terrible effects from food poisoning (argh!) and then 2 brief sightings of sharks around the boat.

I guess it is important to remember that Great White Sharks are very rare animals and any sightings we have of them is a good one. I really learned this lesson well whilst in India. 7 days of our trip was spent in Khana National Park and our main focus was to see a Tiger. We had 2 sightings on 14 game drives. Bearing in mind that Great whites are said to be rarer than Tigers to see 2 sharks on a morning is still really good.

The following day we also had brief sightings but had 4 different sharks up at the boat. 

When we operate we always try to provide a marine safari experience so seeing dolphin on these slower shark days really is a highlight as well as getting close to the seal colony on Seal Island.

On the 20th we had a small cold front approach Cape Town and although it was pretty miserable at sea we got to see the first few predatory events of the season. 

The following day we had a very large 2 meter swell at the Island. The swell was coming directly into the bay and this meant a slow rolling sea at the Island. Big swell is normally not good for seeing good numbers of sharks and by 11am when there was still no sign of sharks we were all a little worried!

We were only going to give it a little while longer when a fantastic male shark of about 3.3 meters came up to the boat. He was very interactive and stayed with us for about 30 minutes. With each pass he would come up very close to the boat and made quite a few surface lunges for the bait and decoy. Everyone wanting to dive also got great views of him from the cage. The day was made even better by coming across a school of 600 common dolphin on the way back to Simonstown.

On Friday we had a very short trip which was a Private Charter. After towing the decoy with no luck we ended up at the Northern side of the Island. As I was retrieving the decoy Chris spotted a curious shark that was investigating a large piece of kelp (seaweed) on the surface. We raced over and in a space of 10 minutes we identified 3 different sharks looking at the kelp. Really interesting!

These were all sharks that we had not seen during the week and it looked like things were picking up again.

 

 

 

 

We were only going to give it a little while longer when a fantastic male shark of about 3.3 meters came up to the boat.

On Saturday the sightings were good again and we had 6 different sharks at the boat.

It just goes to show how wildlife activity works in cycles and most probably depends on environmental conditions, sometimes so subtle that we don’t pick up on the changes.

We have had 2 cold fronts hit Cape Town since Saturday afternoon and with the big swell following this we are not sure how much we will be able to get out this week. No doubt the huge shift of water would have greatly changed things in False Bay since we were last at sea.

Hopefully the changes will be for the good and we will continue to have great early season shark sightings!

 

 

 

Tags:

Great White Shark, Seal Island - False Bay

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