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The Cape Peninsula




Off Cape Point, where the mixing of two great ocean currents occurs, an abundance of sea life is to be found. The first time that I experienced this was very early one winter’s morning. We left the village of Simon’s Town near Cape Town in a thick early morning mist that made us appreciate our GPS all the more. As we approached Cape Point the moon broke through the mist and the Cape Peninsula lay before us with the Cape Point lighthouse flashing in the pre-dawn chill. We rounded the Point and passed Bellow Rock, an impressive granite pinnacle beneath which the Portuguese steam ship the “Lucitania” has lain since it hit the rock and sank in 1911.

About 20 miles seaward of Cape Point, the water temperature quickly rose from 10 to 18 degrees centigrade, a sure sign that we were in tuna water. The water had also changed in colour from a murky green to a deep blue. We spotted a trawler retrieving a net filled with hake, flashing silver in the first rays of the morning sun as a huge blanket of expectant sea birds hovered above. Out here with no land in sight, the bird life is also spectacular with albatrosses, shearwaters and petrels (to name a few) soaring above the boat or swooping from wave to wave.

Small boats could be seen in every direction, some already with tuna on board. However, we were not there for the huge shoals of longfin and yellowfin tuna but for the predators that followed them, namely the mako and blue sharks of the Agulhas Current, two of the world’s most beautiful sharks. Soon we had the first mako at the boat and the filming began. See also "Mako and Atlantic Blue Sharks".

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