Sunday 21 November 2010

Sunday, 21st November

Today, I tagged along on a marine wildlife trip on Zeepard, run by Heiko Metzger. There are lots of box jellyfish (class Cubozoa) in the waters around Lüderitz at the moment.

Perhaps as a result of this, a sunfish was our first sighting of the morning. A big fin flopped on the surface, suggesting quite a large Mola mola beneath, but it did not reveal any more of itself and made a swift departure from the scene. Sunshine turned to thick fog at Diaz Point and then back to sunshine again. There were lots of bow-riding Heaviside’s dolphins and several of them also breached and even back-flipped a number of times – more than I have ever seen in Lüderitz, or even in Walvis Bay, before.

There were many Heaviside’s dolphins in Shearwater bay, several hundred metres from where one of the C-PODs is moored, which is always good to see! Towards the end of the trip, Heiko decided to explore over on the other side of the entrance to the harbour, where they sometimes see minke whales. Instead of a minke, we encountered a juvenile humpback whale. At first it seemed disinterested in the vessel and kept its distance, but after ten minutes or so, it fluked and then only minutes later, breached about 100 metres ahead of us! A while later it started spyhopping, though a little far away from us, and then started to nudge around some kelp for a while as it swam in our direction. It eventually surfaced very close to boat, twice, affording everyone a close-up view before it decided we were rather boring and swam off. Thanks as always to Heiko and Stefan for letting me join the trip.

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