June 2008 Shark Bytes
Posted on Monday, 30 June 2008
Dear Shark Lovers
Historically June is one of our two best months for the sharks at Seal Island. We usually see high numbers of sharks around the boat as well as natural predations and breaches on the decoy.
In 2007 we were hit by atrocious weather and big swells and as a result sightings were way down.
This June has seen even worse weather than last year and we have had to cancel just under half of our trips during June. This bad weather was been due to low pressure systems that are generated in the deep south of the southern ocean.
We were lucky in the sense that this June on the whole we were not too badly affected by big swell and as such when we were able to get to sea the shark activity on most trips has been very good.
Bad weather can of course provide spectacular scenes. We spent almost an entire day at Kalk Bay Harbour earlier in the month watching a large ground swell backed by very high winds lash this traditional fishing harbour. The power of these waves was just astounding and would send water and spray meters high into the air.
Shark Sightings Around the Boat
We have had high numbers of sharks around the boat but it has been interesting to see that there have not been a huge amount of different sharks coming in and out of the Seal Island area. Usually we will see the same sharks for a couple and days which will then in turn be replaced by a new batch of sharks. This month we have seen the same sharks stay around for longer periods of time and as mentioned there has not been the usual high turnover of sharks.
The visibility has varied from a very good 15 meters to an extremely poor 2 meter pea soup! When the visibility has been good we have made the most of the diving. On one particularly good weather and visibility day just Chris & I and our crew headed out after the morning trip to enjoy the sharks in the afternoon. The weather was perfectly flat calm and the sharks were fantastic.
One of the sharks that were sighted for the first time this season was a 3.3 meter female that we have been seeing for 2 seasons previously. She has a distinct marking just below her left pelvic fin which makes her easily recognizable. She is great to have around the boat as she normally approached the decoy or the bait vertically from below, giving us all a rare sight of the white belly of a great white shark.
We have seen her on many trips this month and on one of the trips we had a mother and daughter make a very special trip to South Africa from The States for a once in a lifetime trip to see a great white shark. This particular shark made quite an impression of them and so we named her “Amber” (the daughter’s name!). It is a lovely name for a beautiful shark.
Some people may think it is a bit strange that we give the sharks that we know well names. From our point of view it helps greatly with data points and in getting to know the actual animal. I also feel that it is interesting for our guests to know the history behind a particular shark and really helps to put across the point that these sharks do all indeed have personalities of their own.
We did also have another good sighting of “Schumi” around the boat at the beginning of the month and so far we have seen her in April, May and June.