Seal Island, False Bay Cage Diving
Yes, you may have already guessed but we have finally had the first Great white shark sightings of the season at Seal Island just a few days ago. After an anxious wait it was pure joy to see a great white shark up close around the boat and I know the Apex Crew was just as excited, or perhaps more so, than our guests onboard.
So far 3 different Great whites have been recorded around the boat along with a total of 6 predatory events also observed. On one of these events the famous but allusive male shark, Colossus was sighted. This shark is well known for appearing in a number of Air Jaws Discovery Shark Week shows and I know that many of you will be thrilled to hear that he is still around. His size is now estimated at between 4 and 4.5 meters (between 13 and 14 feet) so he is starting to become a heavy-weight shark!
We know it is early days yet but we are thrilled to have a few special large sharky friends around.
In the lead-up to the first Great white shark sighting, we were consistently having good seven-gill cow shark sightings and everyone was enjoying seeing these sharks around the boat and from the cage. One of the large females present was just under 3 meters long, which is just about as big as they can get. We have also had fantastic water visibility at Seal Island which has been awesome for a great cage diving experience.
What is extremely interesting is that apart from the first day of a great white sighting, all the seven-gill cow sharks now seem to have completely departed from Seal Island. In the absence of the great whites, they filled the gap that was left but now that a shark higher up on the food chain than them has returned it seems they no longer feel comfortable staying in the area.
It constantly amazes me how in tune nature is with everything around them, as well as how fine the balance is that exists in the ecosystem.
To elaborate on this point interesting things have also been happening in the Gansbaai area.
After an absence of 6 months, the great white sharks returned to Gansbaai roughly 2 months ago and the operators here were having fairly good sightings. But in mid-May, the notorious shark-eating Orca, Port, and Starboard were spotted moving behind Dyer Island. No great white shark carcasses were found but the day after these two Orcas were spotted all Great white sharks vanished after a hasty departure from the Gansbaai area. We don’t know that any sharks were killed, but it certainly seems that they were aware of the Orca’s presence as well as the potentially lethal threat they pose.
The sharks remained missing here for the next 3 weeks and only in the last couple of days have a couple of great whites been seen.
It seems that the presence of Great White sharks along the Southern Cape Coastline is extremely fragile at the moment and after such an abnormal period we can only hope that things settle down and return to relative normality soon.
You might also be interested in our article on Diving with Great White sharks in Hermanus.