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Great White Sharks, Cape Fur Seals, 1000s of Spinner Dolphins, and Orca Whales!

overcast 18 °C

Heres my fave photo from this leg of my trip!!!!!
After 3 nights in Swakopmund, Namibia, I flew back to South Africa. I landed in Cape Town at 7:30pm and took a prebooked shuttle (with Centurion Tours) 45 min south to Simonstown, where I stayed for 6 nights. I stayed at the Simonstown Quayside Hotel. It was located right on Jubilee Square (main area of the town with lots of shops & restaurants).
My room looked over the harbor, main pier, and mountains.
My first full day here rained. Actually it poured. Sideways. It was SO windy! But the next day was sunny/cloudy, albeit a tad chilly (only 10C). But the good news is, my shark diving tour with Apex Predators wasn't canceled! Woohoo! I prebooked my tour online, but if you'd rather book in person, the Apex Predators office is actually located in a 'mall' beside my hotel. Quite convenient. When choosing a shark diving operator, dont cheap out! The last thing you want when dealing with Great White Sharks, is a flimsy cage! I chose Apex Predators because the owner/operator & marine photographer extraordinaire, Chris Fallows, is known worldwide. Just google his name! If I remember correctly, it cost just under $200 Canadian (I was there in off-season though, it costs more in high season). My hotel was located at the pier where the dive boats departed, so I literally woke up, rolled outta bed, and walked to the end of the pier to meet the group of ppl who would be joining me :)
The boat departed the Simonstown harbor at 7:45am. We left 1hr later than scheduled due to wind in the morning. This is the view from the boat looking back over Simonstown.
We anchored just offshore from Seal Island ... basically a massive rock absolutely covered in Cape Fur Seals!
Just look at all of them! Those arent rocks, those are ALL seals!!
Then the cage went into the water, and the crew started chumming the water (throwing fish guts overboard to attract sharks).
The chum, aka shark bait.
Chumming the water.
And then we waited. And waited. And waited & waited & waited. The entire time the crew kept chucking fish bits overboard trying to attract a shark. In movies they make it seem like if you put even one toe in the water you will get eaten by a shark. But in reality, it takes forever. Eventually one Great White came relatively close to the boat cuz there was a dead seal floating nearby. But just as it was about to raise its head & massive jaws out of the water to eat the seal, (and I was ready with my camera zoomed in & focused on that dead seal), someone else stepped in front of me to take their own photo and I completely missed seeing the shark!!!!! By the time the person moved, all I got to see was the side of the shark :( So disappointed I coulda pushed that person overboard, lol! This is the most I saw of a Great White. (If you want to see incredible photos of Great Whites breaching, google Chris Fallows' name!)
Mr Chris Fallows doing what he does best! And yes, I was very jealous of his lens!
So I didnt actually bother getting into the cage in the freezing cold water (only 8C). No point in getting hypothermia if theres no sharks to see :( After 6hrs of nothing, we headed back to the harbor ... and guess what we saw along the way?!!!! NINE Orca Whales (aka Killer Whales)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!large_IMG_0614-001.jpg
They were hunting a pod of 1000 Spinner Dolphins! Chris was driving our boat as fast as it could go, and we could barely keep up with them! But eventually he got us into the middle of the pod of dolphins! It was unreal ... jumping dolphins and frothing water as far as I could see in every direction! This was definitely a major highlight of my entire trip to Africa!!! (And worth all the money I paid to see sharks).
Adorable baby Orca & its mama :) Notice ALL the dolphins in the background!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This one was no more than 1 meter from our boat when it surfaced!! I actually gasped cuz it was SO close to my face when it surfaced!
So all in all, even though I didnt get to see Great Whites, the Orcas and ridiculous amount of dolphins totally made up for it :)

Posted by ChantelleS 14:16 Archived in South Africa Tagged boat penguin ocean south africa seal dolphin whale Comments (0)


Bay cruise with loads of Cape Fur Seals, huge pelicans and more flamingos!

sunny 23 °C

The owners of the apartment I rented for 3 days in Swakopmund helped me book a spot on a cruise departing from the harbor in Walvis Bay, out to Pelican Point. It was $500 Namibian Dollars ($62 Canadian), which included pickup in Swakopmund and roundtrip transfer to Walvis Bay, a 45min drive, the cruise, and a light lunch.
Once on board we sailed towards Pelican Point. Along the way a Cape Fur Seal hopped on board! Turns out this seal was orphaned when he was young, so the employees took to feeding him so he wouldnt die. Now he makes an appearance every time they sail across the bay :)
Waving 'Hello'large_IMG_0080-001.jpg
Here are some views along the way of Cormorants and Flamingos on the beach, as well as a few shipwrecks!
Shipwreck & flamingos in the background
Flying flamingos!!
Landing flamingos that appear to be dancing :)
Shipwreck from 1932.
The lighthouse at Pelican Point. It used to be located right at the tip of the sandy peninsula, but due to Namibia's ever-changing coastline of shifting sand dunes, the lighthouse is now 3km from the tip! Thats how much the coastline has changed! Crazy!
There were 2,500 Cape Fur Seals at Pelican Point! I could hear them well before I could see them. They sounds like barking dogs ... imagine 2,500 barking dogs!!! They were everywhere on the beach & in the water! (But of course the 1 photo I took of the whole beach full of seals won't upload).
They were quite curious and would come right up to the boat, peek their heads out of the water at us, then dive back down.
I was trying to take photos of the seals when this bird flew right into the photo :)
Looks like this young one is giving his parents a private moment ;)
Hungry pelicans were always near our boat looking for fish. They were HUGE! About double the size of the pelicans we have in Canada!
The harbor was full of massive cargo ships plying the ocean between Europe & Africa. Notice the sand dunes in the background.
Thats all for Walvis Bay, next post will be all about the desert :)

Posted by ChantelleS 15:29 Archived in Namibia Tagged ocean wildlife cruise bird africa bay seal namibia flamingo walvis Comments (0)

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