A weekend with the Whales!
Part of our duties here at the Marine Dynamics Academy on the weekends involves joining Marine Dynamics’ commercial whale watching vessel; Dreamcatcher. Here we play an important role with data collection, photography and assisting with clients onboard. Our recent trips have been action packed over the weekend, with current Interns Anna, Lauren, Shanell & Clisha enjoying some excellent whale action.
During our first Saturday trip we were lucky enough to spot two southern right whales that were very relaxed and came right next to the boat! We were able to capitalize on this opportunity to grab some stunning pictures. As we cruised into the shallows to check on Slashfin, we were also able to witness a stunning great white shark, along with many sea birds such as the shy albatross.
One of our roles on Dreamcatcher is to collect water quality information at Uilenkraalsmond Estuary and Shark Alley. At both locations we collect a profile of the temperature, pressure and dissolved oxygen using the YSI Probe. This data will be utilised alongside humpback dolphin and southern right whale sightings data, to investigate whether abiotic factors play a role in sightings observed.
Our second trip was lucky enough to spot a humpback whale by Pearly Beach. Although the humpbacks are known for their spectacular breaching behavior this individual was a bit more chilled out and took a deep dive and disappeared. Both trips made a stop through Shark Alley to visit the seal colony and Dyer Island to try and spot some African penguins.
On Sunday, the trip started off slow but we managed to spot a southern right whale on our way towards Pearly Beach, just before we stopped at the famous shark alley to visit our seal colony. We also got to see a group of African Penguins, known as a raft of penguins!
At the beginning of the second trip we headed into the wind towards Danger Point in search of some whales. On our way we spotted a sunfish that came very close to the boat. We were lucky enough to find two very relaxed humpback whales in some of the deeper water. We then left the whales and headed back towards the Kleinbaai area to see if we could spot any more, we were in luck as a southern right whale was in the area. We also had a very curious sub Antarctic Skua come to our boat and stayed around for a while. Then to shark alley to pay yet another visit to the seals and finally a visit to Slashfin to find a large seal playing around the cage.