The key to the biomass and diversity of marine life off our coast lies in the seasonal summer upwelling that drives the whole food chain. On and off phases of upwelling result from the south easterly winds which blow normally for periods of up to 5 days then settle again only to be repeated. Cold nutrient rich water is upwelled from depth onto the coast pushing the warmer offshore water off the coast in the process. The nutrients sustain large blooms of plankton and zooplankton which in turn feed the bait fish and so we move up the food chain to the squid and game fish, sharks, marine birds and cetaceans.
The coastal waters around Cape Town support a wide range of marine life. Southern Wright, Humpback and Brydes whales arrive to calve and feed from the end of June and peak between September and November. Pods of common, dusky and heavysides dolphin are frequent visitors. Seal island off Hout Bay is home to a colony of Cape fur seals which in turn supports a healthy population of white sharks around the coast. Offshore we have spotted sperm whales, killer whales, pilot whales, rhydes whales and several species of dolphin.
Apart from the cetaceans, the upwelling supports vast numbers of coastal as well as pelagic seabirds. Offshore behind trawlers we literally get within touching distance of the pelagic birds as they feed behind the trawlers and longliners affording unsurpassed photographic and birding oppourtunities.
All content on this website is 100% original, filmed and photographed off Obsession. I must send a big thank you out to my good friend Morne Hardenburg who has provided most of these marine life photos for me and in so doing has assisted me in my goal to keep this website 100 % original. Morne runs Shark Explorers based in Simonstown, for more information on how to join a trip with Shark Explorers please see their contact details on our Partners page.