2018年7月2日星期一

Annual diving in overseas, Simon's town, Cape Town, South Africa in 2017, looking for fur seals

In 2017, I planned to watch seals in South Africa. The species living there is belong to the family of fur seal. Fur seal and true seal are two difference families. Fur seal has external ear,  and true seal spends more time in water. This species are named South African fur seal.

This species is not aggressive as I might swim with them as close as inch and could see their facial hair clearly. They are the most curious sea mammal, because they always come to check us when we approach their area. This behavior doesn't happen on dolphins and whales.

South Africa fur seal




I booked a hotel, which is near the pier, was built over hundred years and bought by a Chinese several years ago. It is a two-storey building with only ten guest rooms.
Central Hotel Guest HouseOpens in new window

I met three Chinese in this trip,  the owner of this hotel, a dive master and a tourist guide who immigrated from Macau.


Diving in South Africa is challenging because its water temperature has only 14 degree Celsius in winter. In such low water temperature, there is lack of enthusiastic diver as me to visit, therefore I had to charter a boat and DM for diving. I dived four days and another 2 cage dives, while I had booked three, because the last one was cancelled due to weather condition. I made 12 dives in four days.

South African spiny lobster
Nearer Cape Hope, where was a challenging sailing route in the pass. Therefore, there had been making many wrecks. I visited several of them in this trip, although
most of the dives were seal watching.

South Africa is quite famous in abalone exportation, but I did not see any live abalone underwater.
I only saw their shells covered a large area in some dive sites.
Lobsters in South Africa have quite special behavior, which stand on the rock instead of hidden underneath of it.


After I had finished 4 days dive, I did cage diving for watching white sharks. The operator I joined was very poor. Firstly, they forgot to bring surface air supply on the first day, which I had ordered when I booked and I reminded them one day before at the pier. Secondly, they told me and my hotel's front desk that they would pick me up from my hotel, but they failed to do.
Beside the poor cage diving operator, South Africa is not a good place for white shark watching, because their cages are being floated on the sea and tightened to the boat. At a result, the cage swings and makes the guests hard to take a good video or photos. Mexico has a better arrangement, that their cages submerge several meters below the surface, as the movie 47 Meters Down shown.

Beside their teeth, shark's eye can be used to distinguish difference species.
White shark's eye is dark black, whale shark's eye ball can be sucked into its cavity and tiger shark's eyelid can flap repeatedly.



African penguin


Chick with his parent
African penguin is another major and famous local animals in Simon's Town. The most dense population is around the Boulders beach, where is built a protected zone, but visitors can also watch them very close. They built many shelters, their homes, on the middle of hill, where I watched many chicks.

African penguin can easily be identified by their pink eyes' shadow.

Although the beach has entrance fee, you may see many penguins along the non ticketing path. The left hand side's picture was taken there.














When my agent had received the message of cancelling of cage diving, he arranged a land trip for substituting.
I went to Cape of Good Hope where is the most south of western point of the African continent. Unlucky, it was a raining day. At a result, none of the wild animals shown up there. The guide said there are a lot of Chacma Baboons and zebras, which may be seen occasionally.
Chacma Baboons


I could not spot both of them in the national park. But when we had been returning to Cape Town, lucky, I saw a group Baboons which were crossing a road. I then realized that the size of this species is so small, whose size is similar to the monkeys that are living at Shek Lai Pui Reservoir, Hong Kong.