Thursday, November 20, 2008

South African Pelagic Birding

Africa Trip continued:
A big part of our S. A. birding and wildlife tour was a 30 mile excursion off the Cape of Good Hope. Patrick Cardwell of Avian Leisure hooks us up with Chris Fallows of Apex Predators tours (http://www.apexpredators.com) in order to view the wide array of seabirds and other wildlife that forage off the bottom of the African continent.

Chris and Apex Predators are internationally acclaimed with their pictures, interviews, and documentaries seen in National Geographic, 60 minutes, CNN, and the Discovery Channel. You can see Chris’s awesome videos of Great White Sharks in pursuit of sea lions in the Discovery Channel‘s Planet Earth series. They specialize in the conservation of aquatic ecosystems to include promoting the positive awareness of the Great White Sharks.

We did not chase Great Whites, but the thrill of riding 25 foot waves photographing a mix of Shearwaters, Petrels, Skuas, Albatross’s and Gulls was quite a treat. To add to the adventure were sea turtles, sun fish, sea lions, and breaching Southern Right Whales.

The rough seas where the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet did smooth out a bit as we powered our 18’ craft past the continental shelf. There we played tag with several fishing trawlers and container ships that attracted prolonged aquatic feeding frenzes. These were the same seas back in 1487 that the Portuguese explorer Bartholomeu Dias ventured through as he rounded the Cape in search of an eastern sea trade route to India. Dias did not make it to India but 10 years later in 1497 the equally intrepid adventurer Vasco da Gama did which started a rich history that the Portuguese, Dutch, and English all played a part in. The windy, rocky cape was and is a dangerous place for seamen and many met their demise here including tragically Dias himself.


Please enjoy these pelagic pictures and short videos. Photographs are from a Leica D-Lux unless otherwise noted.






The Cape of Good Hope looking North
all of Africa is above here


Cape Gull digiscoped with Cannon 540 and Swarovski HD 80 scope






Who's on first?







Pintado Petrel








































Sea Lions on the chase



Competition of the species




















The Shy Albatross

























Incredible aviators, Albatross's play the waves














A Sun Fish approaches our boat























Our Sun Fish pulls up along side the boat



Check out the rockin video!



1 comment:

K.K. Sharma said...

We made it to the visitor center, where we ate lunch before continuing to the Cape of Good Hope itself.