April 2011 Shark Bytes
Posted on Saturday, 30 April 2011
Dear Shark Lovers!
April has been a very up and down month for Great white shark sightings. It has been interesting to see how dramatic the effect of weather and water temperature seem to have had on the shark activity.
Sadly, our much loved crew member, Woods, also had a very traumatic event where he lost his home in a fire. Please read below to see if you can help him.
Great White Sharks, Seal Island
April certainly started off with a bang with our first breach of the season on 1 April. It was a wintery day, just perfect for breaching behaviour. We did not have to wait long and in 5 minutes we had an almost full breach on the decoy. Needless to say we were all tremendously excited to see this huge animal launching itself out of the water.
Sightings of sharks around the boat were steadily increasing and we really thought that the early start to the season was just going to keep getting better! We should have known better…
Chris & I had been away the second week of April on board a 6 Star Cruise Ship, Serenity, where Chris was invited as a guest speaker. The 6 star treatment 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. They also had breaches on the decoy on three trips, so the sharks were certainly hotting up.
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.
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 was 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.
On that 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.