Reflecting back on July and reflecting back on how unpredictable sharks sightings have been along the entire coastline we are grateful to have seen Great white sharks on all of our trips this past month. Although activity is generally down on previous years we did have many highlights.
Colossus conjures up a most Impressive Hunt
The 4 meter male, Colossus must be one of the most well-known Seal Island Great white sharks at present and in mid-July we got our third sighting of him of the season thus far. He is a shark that does not seem comfortable coming up to the boat and almost all our sightings of him are on predation events with his dented in dorsal making him very easy to identify.
On this particular seal hunt, our assistant skipper, Ryan, was able to witness an incredible event as he was putting the anchor down.
With the prevailing north wind in winter we most often anchor just off the “Launch Pad”. The Launch Pad is one of the key factors that helps to bring about almost perfect hunting conditions for great white sharks at Seal Island and is a shallow reef that serves as the departure and return point for most seals moving to and from the Island. The drop off from the launch pad is dramatic and the deeper waters provide great opportunities for patrolling great white sharks to pick up on potential prey and the high volumes of seals that come and go. Because the reef is so shallow and the waters are turbulent here, the seals are for the most part safe from a hunting great white shark.
I say for the most part because Colossus has now proved us all wrong in our assumptions that a great white would never try anything here!
It was a perfectly calm afternoon as Ryan put the anchor down and had a clear view of the launch pad directly in front of him as he did so. To his astonishment he continued to watch as a large shark, using the momentum of an incoming swell to take him onto the reef and easy as anything, grab a seal in the safety zone. He then appeared to back pedal as he wriggled himself off the reef and practically swallowed the seal whole. The seals reacted with a mass exodus off the reef but within moments the seal was consumed and there was virtually no sign that anything untoward had happened.
It is incredible that we have never seen a predation event like this in all the years but I suppose in a given opportunity and when conditions present itself to a very successful hunter, the hunter will take full advantage. I know Ryan was extremely excited to have witnessed this incredibly interesting event.
A 4.5 meter shark does a full breach!
Chris and I have been traveling with some of our groups to various locations up the coast to try and showcase a mix of great white shark action as all three location in South Africa offer different opportunities. With general great white shark activity being up and down everywhere we did have some slow days but did also manage a few very good ones and Chris along with our guests did manage to capture some beautiful great white shark images in different behavioural patterns.