Weather conditions this month were mild; with warm, sunny days and cooler nights. Sea conditions were mostly good with a few days of swell, brought on by cold fronts travelling up the coastline from the Cape. Water temperature at the beginning of the month was 23 degrees Celsius and by month-end, it had only dropped to 22 degrees Celsius.
At this time of year, we begin to get excited about seeing the first humpback whales arrive. These whales live in the Antarctic but as winter approaches the ice freezes over and does not leave them with much space to manoeuvre, so, as temperatures drop, the whales begin their migration.
Clive saw the first group of whales on the ninth of June. We were busy diving at Elusive when a pod of seven adult whales swam right over us; unfortunately we did not see them from down below.
That was the first of many sightings this month however. On another occasion Darryl was sitting on the boat waiting for the divers when he watched a humpback whale approaching. It swam towards the boat, then towards the buoy line and right over the divers' bubbles, then back to the boat again. Then it swam back to the divers and actually swam down towards them before surfacing. It then swam off a short distance where it stopped and stayed, resting on the surface. It felt to Darryl as if it was having a look at what was happening before deciding to go for a sleep. The divers surfaced from their dive, completely unaware of what had happened!
We had a couple of families visiting this month that had not been up our way for a few years and it was great to catch up with everyone.
Owen and Michelle had not been diving with us for a few years because they had had two beautiful daughters and life was busy. Now that the kids were a bit older they were back for some dives and beach time. They decided to take their kids, Carla and Errine, out for a boat ride. It was a sunny day and the sea was calm, perfect conditions for the young girls. They had a great time watching humpback whales and spinner dolphins, what an amazing experience for these little girls.
David and Carla from Cape Town and Don, Tim and Casey from Durban also had not been diving with us in a few years. They were all on their way to dive at Yellowfin Drop when they got the chance to snorkel with a whale shark and some bottlenose dolphins. It has been a couple of months since we have seen a whale shark, which is very uncommon as we normally see them right throughout the year, so everyone was really excited to see one again.
The De Kock family had stayed here two years ago and completed a PADI Discover Scuba Diving Course. They loved it so much that some of them went on to complete their Open Water Course, except for Jocene who was still too young to dive at the time. Now they were back so that Jocene and dad Charles could complete the course as well. Unfortunately, they seemed to have packed the Cape Town weather in their bags without realising it. Jocene and Charles had to complete their course in rain, wind and swelly conditions and with bad visibility thrown in as well! Good news is they did complete the course and managed to get one extra day of diving in good conditions after the cold front had moved through. Well done to you both.
Aerial Reef was one of the favourite dive sites this month, delighting divers with many sightings of green turtles, hawksbill turtles, round ribbontail rays and the occasional grey reef shark. The most memorable sighting was of a giant kingfish (Caranx ignobilis). These are the largest kingfish growing to an average of 60cm but they can exceed 100cm in length. This fish was hiding out in a cave where we normally look for small fish such as blue banded pipefish, pineapple fish and cleaner shrimp. The kingfish filled the whole cave, so there was no chance to look for anything small!
Congratulations to the following divers:
Sophie and Alistair Dewaar for completing their Discover Scuba Diving Course.
Charles and Jocene de Kock for completing their PADI Open Water Course.
Yours in diving,
Darryl, Clive, Michelle, Juley, Mandla and Sipho
The Rocktail Dive Team