False Bay Orca Sighting
Posted on Friday, 6 May 2016
14 April 2016
Since April 2009 Chris & I have been extremely fortunate to encounter Orcas in False Bay on 17 occasions, as well as witnessing the Orcas hunt Common dolphins a total of 23 times.
Many of the sightings have been in the mid-April time period, coinciding with the abundance of Common dolphins in the Bay.
Over the last couple weeks dolphin activity has been high and so a strange affliction known to Chris & I as “Orcalitis” struck us hard. There is only one cure for this and that’s to spend time in False Bay on the lookout for what I believe to be the most intelligent animal on the planet, and one of the most efficient predators we have ever had the privilege of spending time with.
Yip, you guessed it… the magnificent Orca!
On 14 April we departed Simon’s Town harbour in beautiful sea conditions and perfect spotting weather. We do many of these kinds of forays into The Bay but most, unfortunately, end unsuccessfully in finding Orca.
We had already spotted a large school of dolphin when driving through so we thought they were a sure thing, but once we were out at sea they had managed to evade us!
When we were about 3 miles away from Seal Island our skipper, Dave, radioed us from White Pointer II letting us know a large school of dolphin had just passed the southern end of Seal Island, and he thought he had spotted two large, black dorsal fins just behind the school. This sight was 2 miles from him so Dave wasn’t quite sure if it was two Orca or not, but never the less we started racing towards the area.
Once we reached the Island the dolphins were nowhere to be seen so we kept pushing in the direction Dave had seen them moving.
Miles of ground covered turned up a big fat zero… How on earth can 800 dolphins disappear into thin air? The answer is pretty simple… If being chased by two super predators vanishing is an absolute necessity.
Two hours into the morning we knew we had lost our opportunity so by this stage we were feeling pretty downcast as these chances are so few and far between, and especially having been so close we definitely were feeling more than a little frustrated.
Having largely given up we began a zig zag pattern back to Simon’s Town, stopping every now and then to survey an area.
About mid-way into False Bay we had stopped and as I was looking out I spotted two very big dorsal fins in the distance. Even though they disappeared literally a moment after I had first seen them, I immediately knew what I had seen… ORCA!