Rocktail Dive Report - July 2013

Aug 25, 2013 |  South Africa |  Maputaland |  Rocktail Beach Camp
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What a spectacular month for humpback whale sightings! We had sightings of these whales almost every day - mostly adult individuals, but there were a couple of occasions where we watched mothers swimming along slowly with their calves. There were also a few sightings of humpback whales with spinner dolphins.

Some other wonderful sightings during ocean experience trips were that of a minke whale, a juvenile scalloped hammerhead shark and a very special sighting of a sunfish! There are three types of sunfish; the one we saw was the ocean sunfish or mola mola. These strange-shaped fish are the heaviest of all bony fish weighing up to an average of 1000 kg and reaching a maximum length of 3.2 metres. Sunfish are found in temperate and tropical waters but are pelagic so are generally found further out to sea and tend to spend a lot of time in water deeper than 200m. They do however like to spend some time lying on the surface of the water, apparently basking in the sun, hence the name sunfish.

An explanation for why the sunfish was in our area could be that it was feeding in the plankton-rich waters. This month we had a few days where the visibility was been between 6-10m due to the plankton that was in the water. Other fish that enjoy this plankton-rich water are spadefish and we saw lots of them behind Island Rock feasting on plankton, bluebottles and jellyfish.

Gogo’s is always an enjoyable dive; with such wonderful topography and huge diversity of corals, you find yourself engrossed in the reef and time seems to disappear. Some great little critters on the reef this month were partner or clown shrimps in anemones, squat shrimps, porcelain crabs, tapestry shrimps and lots of different types of nudibranches. Bigger fish included yellow-belly rock cod, tiger rock cod, huge schools of humpback snapper and lemon fish. On the southern end there is a ledge which a white tip reef shark has been calling home for some time now but during a dive there this month we saw three of these sharks squashed into this prime piece of real estate! Wonder how long they will stay?

Aerial is a wonderful, shallow reef, situated right in the bay, perfect for first-time divers. It did not disappoint this month, with lots of eager divers completing their PADI Discover Scuba Diving Course. There were sightings of green turtles, “Cheeky” the potato bass, honeycomb eels, geometric eels, round ribbon tail rays, anemones with little clownfish, dominoes, cowrie shells, and starfish. Some divers were even serenaded by humpback whales! If that doesn’t get you hooked on diving nothing will.

Congratulations to the following divers:
Felix, Oliver and Flora Burt
Franziska and Ulrike Moller
Clare Ovey
Emilie Schoeffel
Anke Struik
for completing their Discover Scuba Diving Course

Yours in diving,
Darryl, Clive, Michelle, Karlien, Mandla and Sipho
The Rocktail Dive Team

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