Marine Photographic Expedition South Africa
Posted on Monday, 25 April 2016
False Bay South Africa
During our early autumn months False Bay is normally alive with wildlife activity and as such a whole host of marine predators, and prey, can be sighted.
Together with Pangolin Safaris and photographic and wildlife guide, Grant Atkinson we put together a special weekend for wildlife photography enthusiasts intent on doing something different…. a marine game-drive!
Saturday arrived with truly glorious weather bringing flat calm seas and perfect spotting conditions. As we left Simon’s Town harbour, tens of gannets were sitting in small flocks on the water. Although we could clearly see their already full bellies, they could not resist the feeding opportunities when loosely grouped shoals of anchovy started showing themselves on the sea surface. They proceeded with shallow dives and the photographers on board had a great opportunity to shoot shallow diving gannets.
With the sea conditions being so calm we were able to turn the boat engines off, sit quietly and just listen to the sound of the anchovies moving on the surface. The light pitter patter was like rain falling on a corrugated iron roof. We also watched in fascination as they fed with their proportionally large mouths wide open as they skimmed plankton on the surface.
The gannets were soon joined by offshore Sooty & Cory’s Shearwaters and small flocks of penguins who thought they’d share in the spoils.
Next stop on our False Bay adventure was Seal Island, famous for fantastic shark cage diving opportunities and intense predation activity between Great white sharks and Cape fur seals. Unfortunately we were experiencing a drop in shark activity so instead decided to make the most of the flat conditions and give our group the chance to get up close to the 60,000 strong seal colony that inhabits the Island. This provided a great chance for beautiful seal portrait images.
Leaving Seal Island in our wake we pushed further into False Bay for our last chance of finding other marine wildlife. Chris & I were spotting from the roof and although I was standing right next to him I could not for the life of me see the feeding gannets Chris had spotted some 3 miles away! And I certainly don’t think the guests could quite believe he had seen them either!
Chris managed to prove us all wrong and as we approached the diving gannets a mega pod of around 1000 common dolphins also came into view. The immensely spectacular sight of hundreds of diving gannets and feeding dolphins had the camera clicks going in over drive. It was like we were on our own personal Sardine Run!
One of the guests was so over-awed by the spectacle that she turned to me with tears in her eyes saying it the most beautiful sight she had ever seen which made my heart very warm indeed.