My favourite thing about Seal Island is…

Shark cage diving? Choose African Shark Eco-Charters. Here is why!

My favourite thing about Seal Island is…

Of all the things that make Seal Island in False Bay special, one particular aspect stands out for me.  For a few short moments during sunrise each morning the island is alive with the natural predation activity of the great white sharks on the cape fur seals. While some of our guests may not be too thrilled with the very early start in the morning, it becomes well worth it for the opportunity to witness these top predators hunt. Seal Island is so unique because it is the best place in the world to view white sharks breach, sometimes multiple times, when they hunt seals early in the morning.

The ocean floor topography, a steep drop off surrounding the island, allows the sharks to attack from below with such velocity that they are propelled out of the water. However, the white sharks don’t always hit their target on the initial strike. If a shark targets a group of seals, or has an unsuccessful attack on a single seal, a dramatic chase will usually ensue. These chase sequences can last from a few second to a few minutes and show off the amazing manoeuvrability of the seal as it fights for survival and the persistence of the shark as it tries to land dinner. As the shark tries to bite the seal, the seal attempts to keep to the shark’s tail, just out of reach. The longer the chase goes on the more it favours the seal due to their superior endurance. These chases are usually on the surface where we can view the whole drama play out. On our boat, the Blue Pointer, guest and crew shrieks of ‘go shark’ or ‘go seal’ are frequently heard!

This natural predation witnessed in the morning, especially seen in the months of June, July and August, varies every day. Perfect conditions that favour hunting behaviour include small swell with a bit of wind chop on the surface of the water, as well as low light and low water visibility. On the ocean, everyday is different. Every day is another chance to see nature’s life and death drama with tooth and claw play out. This is why I enjoy the hunting aspect of Seal Island so much, you never know what to expect each morning. Nature always surprises.

With the 2012 shark season coming to a close at the end of September, make sure you book in advance for next year when we get started again in February or March. The crew here at African Shark Eco Charters can’t wait to show you the sharks! What will your favourite thing about Seal Island be?


Allie Skidmore